“It was a dark day” for Muslims, an Islamic group said.
Rabat – Switzerland is moving forward to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa or niqab (face coverings) in public spaces.
An official referendum in the country shows that 51.2% of Swiss voters are against the wearing of the burqa in public spaces against 48.8%.
Switzerland will only allow women to wear the burka inside places of prayer and for “native customs,” including carnival, the Guardian reported.
The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) launched the proposal of the burqa ban in public spaces.
The party also launched a campaign, promoting posters that featured a woman in a black niqab and captions that call for the end of “extremism” and “radical Islam.”
In shock, the Muslim communities in Switzerland condemned the campaign against the ban, describing Sunday as a “black day” for Muslims.
The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland said the vote “proved that Islamophobia had increased in Switzerland since the ban on minarets in 2009.”
The council also described the day of the vote as a “dark day” for Muslims.
Swiss citizens voted on the proposal to ban the building of minarets when the SVP claimed the building was a sign of Islamisation.
“Today’s decision opens up old wounds, further expands the principle of legal inequality and sends a clear signal of exclusion to the Muslim minority. The result comes as no surprise. As credibly and competently as the Federal Council conducted the referendum campaign, it neglected the phenomenon of ‘radicalizing Islamophobia’ in society,” the council argued.
The Foulards Violet (Purple Scarfs) collective also commented on the decision to ban the burqa.
The collective said that its campaign against the burqa ban was victorious despite the outcome of the vote.
The collective also expressed commitment to continue to fight for women’s rights and promote feminism against sexism and racism in Switzerland.
A 2017 report on Islamophobia expressed concerns regarding the challenges Muslims face in European countries in almost every place they go, including university, and workplaces.
“The rise of Islamophobia both reflects and strengthens the normalization of far-right discourse in the political spectrum across Europe. Within a few months, neofascist parties entered the German Bundestag, accessed strategic ministries in Austria, and registered historical results in the French, Dutch and Italian elections”, the report said.
Another report from HopeNotHate said in February that more than one in every three Europeans hold negative views on Muslims.
In addition to Switzerland, several European countries imposed laws to criminalize the wearing of the burqa in public spaces, including France, Belgium, and Austria.