The town of Ticino in Switzerland approved a referendum to ban burqas, after the Swiss parliament decided a ban would not “violate the country’s federal law.” Women could receive a fine up to £6,500 ($9,828.84) if caught wearing a burqa, which covers their entire body from head to foot.
“Those who want to integrate are welcome irrespective of their religion,” explained Giorgio Ghiringhelli, who wrote the proposal. “But those who rebuff our values and aim to build a parallel society based on religious laws, and want to place it over our society, are not welcome.”
The local government also wanted to ban masks, but the members of parliament decided to limit the law to burqas “to avoid putting that on the same level as hooligans and masked demonstrators.” However, tourists are not exempt from the law.
Ticino voted to ban the burqa in 2013, but it was never enforced because tourism industries fear it would “keep rich Arab tourists away.”
In 2011, Switzerland toyed with the idea to ban the burqa when the lower parliament “backed a resolution called ‘Down With the Masks!'”
The law is similar to France’s burqa ban, which passed in 2010. The law caused international uproar, but the European Court of Human Rights upheld it in July 2014.