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Full-facial coverings banned in Switzerland following referendum

A proposal to ban facial coverings in Switzerland won a narrow victory in a binding referendum on Sunday.

The vote was instigated by the same group that organised a 2009 ban on new minarets.

The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2 – 48.8% margin.

The proposal under the Swiss system of direct democracy does not mention Islam directly and also aims to stop violent street protesters from wearing masks.

However, many in the media and political sphere have dubbed it a ‘burqa ban’.

“In Switzerland, our tradition is that you show your face. That is a sign of our basic freedoms,” said Walter Wobmann, chairman of the referendum committee and a member of parliament for the Swiss People’s Party.

He called facial covering “a symbol for this extreme, political Islam which has become increasingly prominent in Europe and which has no place in Switzerland”.

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