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Swiss to vote on whether to ban full facial coverings in public

72 Comments
By Robin MILLARD

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72 Comments

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Excited for the "let people make their own choices, no masks, freedom for all" crowd to explain why legally putting limitations on people's clothing choices is suddenly good and just.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

People in ALL countries should be free to wear whatever they please. However employers, including the government should be free to set dress standards for their employees. Shops, offices and public places should also be allowed to prohibit inappropriate dress. Freedom is a two way street.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Does this include my scuba gear or my motorbike helmet? Women’s make-up? Or just blatant racism?

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

Some of the covid masks people wear on the street look like this

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Ah, again mr. Addor and his lunatics. Famous guy. Famous but sad.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

When in UAE and Qatar, I was frankly impressed by the women wearing their burqas and whatnot.

Leave then to wear whatever they want and how they want. They get a thumbs up from me, and freedom.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

How about we ban stupid bans instead?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Excited for the "let people make their own choices, no masks, freedom for all" crowd to explain why legally putting limitations on people's clothing choices is suddenly good and just.

It's easy. We can tell them what to do and what to wear, but we won't let anyone tell us what to do and what to wear, even when it's for our own good and the good of those around us.

It's called Freedumb.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

I say free to cover or uncover your face.

That applies to Covid masks and religious ones as well.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

It's easy. We can tell them what to do and what to wear, but we won't let anyone tell us what to do and what to wear, even when it's for our own good and the good of those around us.

It's called Freedumb.

Spot on.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I wear a hat and large dark sunglasses, and a COVID mask.

Would I be fined?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I would rather ban the useless corona masks.

-23 ( +5 / -28 )

Ironically, once again, women are being told what they can and can't wear.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Ban everything make everyone happy , there you go !

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Probably even better than an N-95 mask. I steer clear of anyone I see dressed like that.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I wear a hat and large dark sunglasses, and a COVID mask.

Would I be fined?

Possibly. It's unclear from the article. You should definitely be picked up by the fashion police, though.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

This is just anti-Islamic. Come on Europeans, grow a pair, and just say it: You don't want to see visible signs of Islam in your hitherto non-Islamic countries. Just have the guts to say it straight, instead of this mealy-mouthed farce.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Ban everything make everyone happy , there you go !

Good to see some of our right wing friends in favour of the burqa.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Come on Europeans, grow a pair, and just say it: You don't want to see visible signs of Islam in your hitherto non-Islamic countries. Just have the guts to say it straight, instead of this mealy-mouthed farce.

The Swiss don't necessarily speak for Europe.

Just like the far right who appropriate Christian iconography don't necessarily speak for Christians.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Toasted HereticToday 03:36 pm JST

Ban everything make everyone happy , there you go !

Good to see some of our right wing friends in favour of the burqa.

You are absolutely mistaken !

Not right wing.

Not your friend.

And not in favour of the burqa.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

There are several interesting points though I'm unfamiliar with Swiss politics. The other, right-side poster also draws my attention (showing another voting agenda regarding a free trade pact with Indonesia).

However, many feminist organizations oppose the ban.

A very interesting phenomenon, from the viewpoint of cultural diversity.

Two Swiss cantons already have full facial covering bans.

What if the voting result at confederate levels turns out to be conflicting with the cantons' implemented policy? Would it override the canton's or preserve it as part of autonomy?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You are absolutely mistaken !

Ah, I thought you were being sarcastic. So, you do want the burqa and "everything" banned. Good to know.

Not right wing.

Ok, far right wing. My bad.

Not your friend.

Well, of course. Right wingers would have to say something of interest to reach that level.

And not in favour of the burqa.

Or anything, it appears.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

A religion that forces only women to cover their faces is quite sexist; therefore I support this ban, ironically supported by a far-right party.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Polls indicate a slim majority support the move, in a vote that comes after years of debate following similar bans in other European countries -- and in some Muslim-majority states.

It is worth remembering that some Muslim-majority states ban this as it is seen as a sign of extremism as well as a security problem.

I see it as a depressing sight in the 21st century, but people should have the choice to dress as they like. It’s sad that secular Europe which has had an awful past with religious fundamentalism and sectarianism is still seeing symbols of fundamentalist ideas like this.

Another problem is that some Muslim and ex-Muslim women have pointed out is the pressure put on women by families and communities to dress ‘modestly’. However, how to find out the level of duress women are under is almost impossible.

By the way, has anyone ever been given a defensible reason why it’s only women who should dress modestly in Islam? I haven’t come across one yet.

However employers, including the government should be free to set dress standards for their employees. Shops, offices and public places should also be allowed to prohibit inappropriate dress. Freedom is a two way street.

About right. Particularly where ID is essential.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So for some reason this is an issue in Switzerland, even though there are hardly any burqa-wearing women in the country?

And the head of Human Rights Watch, feminist organizations and the Swiss Council of Religions are all of the opinion that there should not be a ban on the burqa?

So what's the problem?

It's a question of civilization. Free men and women present themselves with uncovered faces," said Yes campaign spokesman Jean-Luc Addor, of the populist right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP).

Ah, there we go! Thank heavens for right-wing populists, always on guard against the threat being posed to Civilization as we know it by 30 burqa-wearing Swiss women and a few tourists...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Tried walking into a gas station or a bank with a balaclava on , or a full face motorcycle helmet ?

Makes others uncomfortable and is a security concern !

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Tried walking into a gas station or a bank with a balaclava on , or a full face motorcycle helmet ?

Makes others uncomfortable and is a security concern !

Maybe. But that's not the reason being given by proponents for the ban.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Come on Europeans, grow a pair, and just say it: You don't want to see visible signs of Islam in your hitherto non-Islamic countries. 

How about no signs of any religion in modern Europe apart from some pretty buildings we should keep as tourist attractions ( use the money to help the less fortunate - a supposedly religious idea ).

That would be quite heavenly.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Tried walking into a gas station or a bank with a balaclava on , or a full face motorcycle helmet ?

Makes others uncomfortable and is a security concern !

A burqa is not a balaclava or a motorcycle helmet.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

How about no signs of any religion in modern Europe

What, nun at all?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Most Islamic countries don't allow the freedoms of the sexes or other religions. But the western countries are supposed to accept Sharia Law and other requirements. Don't seem balanced. Try living in Saudi has a Christain.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Tried walking into a gas station or a bank with a balaclava on , or a full face motorcycle helmet ?

Makes others uncomfortable and is a security concern !

Maybe. But that's not the reason being given by proponents for the ban.

Security has come up in the discussions surrounding this ban.

Most Islamic countries don't allow the freedoms of the sexes or other religions. But the western countries are supposed to accept Sharia Law and other requirements. Don't seem balanced. Try living in Saudi has a Christain.

You don’t have to go to the extreme of Saudi Arabia in the Muslim world to see a lack of equality for people of other religious beliefs, no belief in religion, or usually even worse, leaving your Islamic belief.

My take is Europe is and should remain a place which has a far greater respect for freedom of and from religion. We shouldn’t lower our standards on this point.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

By the way, has anyone ever been given a defensible reason why it’s only women who should dress modestly in Islam? I haven’t come across one yet.

No indeed, I think that's because there just isn't one. Just the belief that if us chaps (if we were Muslim) happened to cop an eyeful of a woman's uncovered coiffure, then we would be seized by uncontrollable lust. Of course whatever happened next would be her fault, not ours.

Women, of course, can gaze at men's locks until the cows come home and remain unaffected. As far as we can tell, anyway.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Women, of course, can gaze at men's locks until the cows come home and remain unaffected. As far as we can tell, anyway.

Wasn't there that guy who was deported from Saudi Arabia for being too handsome?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If I go to some Islamic countries, I am sure my wife will not be allowed to wear any skirt, swim with a bikini or showing her arms. That’s a culture I do respect but , burqas or full facial coverings should be banned in countries where it is not cultural like Western Europe.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

By the way, has anyone ever been given a defensible reason why it’s only women who should dress modestly in Islam? I haven’t come across one yet.

There is no need to give such a reason. This is because men are also required to dress modestly in Islam. There is actually a definition for it. Really quite simple.

Now, as for whether Islam's definition of modest dressing for women, and the rules surrounding it, as compared to that for men, is fair or justified - that's a different story. You could call it silly, backward, whatever - and maybe it is. That's also a different story.

But I say again - there is also a requirement for men to dress modestly in Islam. So please do a bit of checking next time.

Then they will tell you with a straight face that women in this part of the world want to wear them.

No.

Wrong. It is a fact (indeed, said with a straight face) that there are women who actually want to wear them (the hijab, that is, not the niqab), despite pleas from their husbands, families, whatnot, not to. Now, whether these women have brainwashed themselves into this 'dehumanizing' practice, I don't know. But I do know that under no pressure whatsoever (except, maybe, from their 'imaginary' god) do they decide to wear these.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Personally, I do not support the niqab. It is, to me, unIslamic. I personally think Islam should ban the niqab (as in, the ulama' should issue a fatwa or ruling or whatever). Yet at the same time I disagree with Switzerland's, or any other country's, proposed ban. As per some of the earlier comments - health aspects aside, people should be free to dress as they like.

Actually I'd even ban hoodies and sunglasses if I could.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Good to see some of our right wing friends in favour of the burqa.

Sorry, nope. When in Rome.....

How about no signs of any religion in modern Europe apart from some pretty buildings we should keep as tourist attractions ( use the money to help the less fortunate - a supposedly religious idea ). 

That would be quite heavenly.

That will never happen.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How about no signs of any religion in modern Europe apart from some pretty buildings we should keep as tourist attractions ( use the money to help the less fortunate - a supposedly religious idea ). 

That would be quite heavenly.

It would also best thing that could happen. Religion allows people to do horrible things.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Muslims who claim they want assimilate into the western society in which they have decided to move, need to respect the culture and adopt the norms of that society. But we all know they do not intend to assimilate. Rather, the responsibility is on the host society to assimilate to them and roll out the red carpet for them, often at the expense of the native citizens. Who can forget Merkle kicking out her own elderly citizens from their nursing homes so the buildings could be used to house Muslim refugees. Enough is enough. Don’t come to a western country if you hate us and our way of life. Stay in your country. If I and my wife took a vacation in a Muslim country, we’d be expected to follow the rules: no public touching or affection, no pork available, no alcohol. My wife may not be able to rent a car. She definitely has to cover her head. And I wouldn’t complain. Because that’s their country. But do Muslims ever return the favor? C’mon man! You know the truth.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The wearing of the burqa is not a fashion statement. It is hyped as a 'traditional garment'. Wedded to religion. It is archaic, at best. Anyone who asserts it is donned of one's own free will, do not understand social constructs and attendant pressures, let alone the psychology of requiring such.

It is the 21st century. Switzerland is not a Medieval culture. That some cultures expect foreign women to don head coverings or means of conservative dress, such is an example of the imposition of culture phrased as a means of respect.

Try imposing the requirement to wear the burqa or niqab in a democratic Western nation.

Most Islamic scholars and most contemporary Islamic jurists have agreed that women are not required to cover their face.

Wearing the niqāb is not an obligation, and that it is permissible for a Muslim woman to uncover her face in front of unrelated men, is the view of the majority of the legal scholars (jumhūr al-fuqahāʾ), since the time of the Companions (Ṣaḥāba). The sacred texts, and the numerous incidents indicate that most of the women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) did not wear the niqāb apart from rare instances. 

The Swiss do not live in the 10th century. Nor does any fundamental religion command that there are strictures imposing a form of dress that is essentially, patriarchal, sexist and to a certain degree misogynist.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Throughout history, women have been burdened by men to cover up, to wear chastity belts and to stay indoors where other men will not be "tempted". Often religion is the tool used to convince and brainwash women into believing that belts that protect your chastity and full body coverings are ordered by god. All to help men contain their lust and inability to battle their own urges.

Chastity belts are no longer in use (as far as I know). Female genital mutilation still happens but it's practice is reducing but full face and body coverings are still popular and still being portrayed as "gods will" by supporters and proponents of some religions.

Allowing people's faces to be seen by all in public is both a moral and law based issue, for some it is a religious requirement. The scholars of all of those religions are men. Many women have been brainwashed by generations of history and instruction by men so they see it as their duty.

Any sovereign nation has the right to enact laws as it see's fit. As a non religious individual I support the right of everyone to deal face to face with everyone and the right to avoid those not willing to show themselves to me as I show myself to them, Medical condition's excluded. People can cover up in their places of worship and in their homes if they choose. People can believe in any faith they choose to. I can have my own opinions also.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Protect the world, ban all burqas !!..

I wholeheartedly agree

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Interesting that people railing against ‘cancel culture’ yesterday are more than ready to cancel culture...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So weird to be reminded like this of how different the culture and values of the countries of the world are, something that would be unthinkable in some countries is even something openly voted upon in others.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Go to some other Asian/Middle Eastern Countries and it's the opposite situation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those posters are highly inflammatory. They will likely be used by various jihadist movements as a demonstration of Swiss/western hostility to Islam in order to recruit people to become terrorists. It is as if the Swiss are inviting attack.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The whole world looks like this anyways. Freedom of speech/clothing/expression should be given to everyone as long as that does not affect anyone else emotionally or physically.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In some cultures, hiding your face is threatening to others. It says that you are ashamed of what you will do or how you appear. Hiding your face is rude in those cultures, like not looking someone in the eye when talking can be considered rude.

For women who choose to cover up completely, I understand it can be freeing not to worry about hair or full face makeup - just the eyes.

In countries where they think religion is stupid, hiding your face is rude and threatening.

In countries where religion is your purpose for living, hiding your face in public may simply show a religious commitment and nothing more.

In countries with terrorism, the full burka can cause fear because anything can be hidden under that clothing. It is irrational, since a backpack can accomplish the same thing, but people aren't generally afraid of backpacks.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

When visiting/living in countries with different cultures, we usually adopt the typical dress of that country. This is expected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Those posters are highly inflammatory. They will likely be used by various jihadist movements as a demonstration of Swiss/western hostility to Islam in order to recruit people to become terrorists. It is as if the Swiss are inviting attack.

So basically, you're saying that the Swiss should capitulate to Muslim protests and give in to their demands, yeah, that'll help and be beneficial for them and their cause to slowly chip away the laws, rules, and Christian-based values.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Oh, and I heard a very important point being made by a European Muslim woman that 'they' (Europeans of a certain bent) didn't have any problems with visibly Muslim women coming in through the back door to clean, but them coming through the front door is a different story

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's an interesting one. I think that countries should have the right to set dress codes, and they should be respected. When I go into a temple in Thailand, I don't do so in a tank top of flip flops. In some muslim countries, women are expected to wear head coverings even if they're not Muslim. In Japan, it's not legal for men to not wear shirts in general public. At the moment, I don't see anything wrong with Switzerland setting an expectation for dress, and people going to Switzerland can decide if they want to not visit the country as a result.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Just like France, the Swiss don't shy away from controversy, and stand by their beliefs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Women cover up in Islam so as not to tempt men and get raped.

It is a protection not necessary in Switzerland.

It has no place there...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

As a Catholic, having a woman cover her head in such a way as a nun does, is fine in my view. Western countries have a culture where women can cover their heads if they choose.

However, wearing a burqa in a Western country is culturally offensive in my view. Whether this should be banned or not is another matter.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

wearing a burqa in a Western country is culturally offensive in my view

I hope you don’t think your being offended doesn’t mean we all should.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

That will never happen.

Given the far right's track record for predicting things that will never happen, I'll take that with a pinch of salt.

I wholeheartedly agree

Interesting. Aren't you supposed to be against banning things?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Muslims invited to live in your countries by your own governments will always exploit the new freedoms available to them, and play the discrimination card when it suits them.

However, take China for example; they will not put up with it, and forcefully whisk them off to work in the shoe factory and re-educate them to be good communist party supporting comrades.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

But we all know they do not intend to assimilate.

That's odd. My Muslim friends, colleagues and neighbors were nothing like the picture you paint.

But do Muslims ever return the favor?

What do your Muslim friends etc say?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Given the far right's track record

which on this issue going by the merits looks very good.

Interesting. Aren't you supposed to be against banning things?

Not at all if it oppresses women and children.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

That's odd. My Muslim friends, colleagues and neighbors were nothing like the picture you paint

If that were true then the Swiss or even the French wouldn’t be going through this. You think Christians in any Muslim country as a minority could push or demand any Islamic government to observe their religious practices? I think we all know the answer to that and to be fair, the majority doesn’t have to give in to the minority, but you’re saying in a predominantly majority Christian society they must be sympathetic, honor and respect the religious practices of the minority Muslim population? Seriously?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Ironic that the idiots who complain that wearing a mask violates their freedoms, now whine about how someone else wearing a covering violates their freedoms!!!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As a Catholic, having a woman cover her head in such a way as a nun does, is fine in my view. Western countries have a culture where women can cover their heads if they choose.

My mother used to have to cover her whole face in the Catholic Church when I was a kid.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

but you’re saying in a predominantly majority Christian society they must be sympathetic, honor and respect the religious practices of the minority Muslim population? Seriously?

They should tolerate freedom of religion. Switzerland is a secular state. The number of adherents to a particular religion is not relevant.

Whether they should tolerate something many see, including some Muslims, as a symbol of oppression of women and a security risk is a tough question.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

but you’re saying in a predominantly majority Christian society they must be sympathetic, honor and respect the religious practices of the minority Muslim population? Seriously?

At least in the US there is a Bill of Rights designed specifically to protect the rights of minorities from being trampled by the majority. There is no state religion in either the US or Switzerland.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Catholic women use to wear veils when attending church but removed them when outside.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

which on this issue going by the merits looks very good.

That's pretty much what the far right say about most things they desire.

Not at all if it oppresses women and children.

So, the new favourite chant of the extremist right "cancel culture" only applies to the loss of things you feel hard done by?

If that were true then the Swiss or even the French wouldn’t be going through this.

Yes, it's true. Are you seriously telling me that you don't have any Muslim friends, colleagues or neighbors? I mean, I realise that some elite white Americans live in gated, segregated communities but it's hard for ordinary folk to get their heads round such isolation.

You think Christians in any Muslim country as a minority could push or demand any Islamic government to observe their religious practices? I think we all know the answer to that and to be fair, the majority doesn’t have to give in to the minority, but you’re saying in a predominantly majority Christian society they must be sympathetic, honor and respect the religious practices of the minority Muslim population? Seriously?

It's an item of clothing. Get over it. Not all women who wear it are oppressed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If that were true

You are claiming Toasted is lying about his Muslim friends. How do you know? Do you know his Muslim friends?

but you’re saying in a predominantly majority Christian society they must be sympathetic, honor and respect the religious practices of the minority Muslim population? Seriously?

Doesn’t christianity espouse tolerance?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

. It's an item of clothing. Get over it. Not all women who wear it are oppressed.

It’s very difficult to know how many are put under pressure to dress ‘modestly’. As I posted earlier, many Muslim and ex-Muslim women have spoken out against family and community pressure to cover up. Unfortunately, Islam does have a deserved reputation for oppression of women. To take another European country, the numbers from a UK poll regarding the question of should Muslim wives always obey their husbands were absolutely horrific.

There is an argument to be made that bans like the one proposed in Switzerland actually work for the greater good of Muslim women. I find this argument a bit dodgy given the difficultly in getting reliable numbers, and state intervention in people’s personal choices, but it’s worth considering.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, it's true. Are you seriously telling me that you don't have any Muslim friends, colleagues or neighbors? I mean, I realise that some elite white Americans live in gated, segregated communities but it's hard for ordinary folk to get their heads round such isolation.

cliche after cliche, stereotype after stereotype. Now I’m starting to wonder if you really have Muslim mates.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

cliche after cliche, stereotype after stereotype. Now I’m starting to wonder if you really have Muslim mates.

Well, I'm hardly going to give a random site popular with the far right access to them, am I?

Where I'm from and where I have lived, people mix and tend to treat each other as equals, human beings.

Some of even us share the same interests, football teams, going to the pub and hanging out.

Don’t come to a western country if you hate us and our way of life.

Could say the same to extreme right wingers, in Switzerland or here.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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