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Islam in Switzerland Three-quarters of Swiss back a burka ban

Two women wearing burkas in front of the Swiss flag

Two women in burkas watch a demonstration during the annual meeting of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland in 2011

(swissinfo.ch)

A nationwide ban on face-coverings – a de facto burka ban – would currently get the thumbs-up from 76% of Swiss voters, according to a poll in the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche. Around half also support the idea of Islam becoming an official Swiss religion. 

Six out of ten respondents said they would definitely back the ban on face-coverings, put forward by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party. Some 16.5% said they were leaning towards a ban, 7% were leaning against it, 13% were definitely against it and 3% said they had yet to decide. 

+ Government rejects Swiss ‘burka ban’ initiative

Almost 70% of respondents also wanted to see headscarves banned from schools. 

But while the Swiss appear to be against burkas and niqabs, that is not the case for Islam as a religion: 48% backed official recognition of Islam as a state religion, like Christianity. This idea has been proposed by the leftwing Social Democratic Party, on condition that the Islamic communities adhere to a moderate form of Islam and organise themselves transparently. 

The online surveyexternal link by market researchers Marketagent asked 1,264 Swiss aged 18-75 in German- and French-speaking Switzerland between December 7-18. 

Ticino is the only canton so far to introduce a total face-covering ban in public places. St Gallen has a less restrictive form of ban, but voters have rejected the idea in Zurich, Solothurn, Schwyz, Basel City and Glarus. Valais lawmakers recently outlawed a cantonal vote on the wearing of headgear on the grounds that it would violate the constitution.

Guide to burkas and niqabs
(swissinfo.ch)

swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts

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