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Voters in Swiss canton pass law to ban full-face veil

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A Muslim woman wearing a face veil distributes flyers against a cantonal vote on banning face-covering headgear in public places, in Lugano on September 18, 2013.

Residents of Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region have voted to ban full-face veils, after similar laws against Muslims were enforced in France and Belgium.

Results from a democratic referendum in the Swiss canton of Ticino on Sunday revealed that 65 percent of people voted in favor of the proposal to ban the covering of faces in public places.

“No one may mask or hide their face on the public highway, nor in places open to the public, except places of worship, nor those offering a public service.… No one may require another person to cover their faces for reasons of gender,” the measure stipulated.

The law will be tethered to the Canton’s constitution, making it tough to overturn, experts said.

The Swiss Central Islamic Council condemned the results as “yet another loud expression of social Islamophobia.”

Amnesty International also said the measure was a “black day for human rights in Ticino.”

The move comes after France passed a law banning full-face veils in public in 2010.

In 2011, Belgium passed a similar law, becoming the second European Union nation to enforce laws meant to protect native European culture against the invading Islamic culture.

The Spanish city of Barcelona also passed a partial ban on face-covering veils in public places.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands said it also plans to outlaw full-face veils in order to guard its culture.


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