The neutral Swiss vote 'yes' to a burqa ban

In a closely contested vote yesterday in officially neutral Switzerland, voters narrowly (51.21%) approved a bill stating, "No one shall cover their face in public" and "no one is permitted to force someone to cover their face based on their gender." 

No, no, no — the neutral Swiss didn't vote against face masks to keep the Wuhan virus from spreading, although, not explicitly stated, this law forbids Muslim women in Switzerland from covering their faces, with only eye peepholes or even slightly less restrictive face coverings, as is common in various degrees in most Muslim countries.  France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark have similar so-called burka ban laws.

Not in Zurich anymore.
Photo credit: Erict19 CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

While reporters at Al Jazeera, the Muslim media conglomerate, whined discrimination about this law, labeling it anti-Muslim, they are quite silent about similar laws that force women, citizens and tourists alike, to cover up in Muslim-dominated countries.  For instance, in Iran, according to Trip Savvy

If you're traveling specifically to Iran, you will want to consult the dress code information from the website Iranian Visa. The Islamic dress code for women takes effect when your airplane crosses into Iranian airspace, according to the site.

Islamic codes of behavior and dress are strictly enforced. In a public place, women must cover their heads with a headscarf, wear a long skirt or loose trousers, and a long-sleeved tunic or coat that reaches to the knee.

Diverse, pluralistic, and multi-cultural countries such as the United States and Israel do not have such clothing restrictions aimed at any specific religious or ethnic group.

Officially neutral, Switzerland doesn't approve of minarets on mosques, Muslim buildings of worship, either — so much so that the Swiss passed a law forbidding them over 11 years ago.

However, once again, opposing laws and customs exist in Muslim-dominated countries, as harsher restrictions against (Christian) churches and much harsher restrictions, often to the point of totally forbidden, against (Jewish) synagogues are the norm there.

Once again, diverse, pluralistic, and multi-cultural countries such as the United States or Israel have no such restrictions on any religious places of worship; indeed, in the U.S., religious buildings are tax-exempt and therefore do not pay property taxes.

Ironically, very few Muslim women in Switzerland, either residents or tourists, cover their faces.  So why are these laws being passed?  Eleven years ago, the British Guardian speculated:

A handful of recent applications for building permits for minarets in Switzerland, the no campaigners said, was proof to many Swiss "of the next step in the strategy of Islamification of our country. The fear is great that the minarets will be followed by the calls to prayer of the muezzin ... sharia is gaining in importance in Switzerland and in Europe. That means honour killings, forced marriages, circumcision, wearing the burka, ignoring school rules, and even stoning."

The prohibition also found substantial support on the left and among secularists worried about the status of women in Islamic cultures. Prominent feminists attacked minarets as male power symbols, deplored the oppression of Muslim women, and urged a vote for the ban.

Since then, many more Muslims have immigrated to Europe; many of these issues — and more — happened, and tensions over the newcomers and their failure to integrate remains high. 

So, ladies, follow the dress law wherever you go.  Men, too.  Or else!

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