Switzerland referendum: Voters support ban on face coverings in public

Switzerland narrowly voted in favor of banning face coverings in public, including the burka worn by Muslim women.

Official results showed the measure passed by 51.2% in the March 7 referendum.

The proposal was put forward by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, campaigning with slogans such as “Stop extremism.”

A leading Swiss Islamic group said it was “a dark day” for Muslims.

Adding it would challenge the decision in court, the Central Council of Muslims said the “decision opens old wounds, further expands the principle of legal inequality, and sends a clear signal of exclusion to the Muslim minority.”

The Swiss government had argued against the ban saying it was not up to the state to dictate what women wear.

According to research by the University of Lucerne, almost no one in Switzerland wears a burka.

About 5% of Switzerland’s population of 8.6 million people are Muslim, most originating from Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo.

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