Swiss legislators have reportedly passed a bill to ban women from wearing burqas in public.
In the wake of heightened terrorist alerts across Europe, anyone in Ticino, Switzerland, who appears in public wearing the Muslim full body covering is subject to a fine of nearly $10,000, Breitbart reports. The law, which also includes the niqab face veil, is based on a similar ordinance that has been in effect in France since 2011 and was approved by Europe's human rights court.
Two thirds of the Italian-speaking southern Swiss town's citizens voted in favor of a similar referendum in September 2013, but it was never enforced due to concerns about attracting enough Arab tourists to Ticino; however, the new law allows no exemptions for tourists or anyone else.
During their high security meetings to discuss the law, the Ticino parliament also hoped to ban masks but ultimately decided not to, "to avoid putting [religious garments] on the same level as hooligans and masked demonstrators," they said, according to Breitbart.
“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.”
Several other countries have also banned the conservative Muslim garment, Express reports. After two burqa-clad Boko Haram terrorists used the garments to smuggle bombs into public areas in Cameroon and detonate them, killing 13 people, the northern region of the Central African country imposed strict bans on burqas, niqabs and even on large Muslim gatherings.
"A terrorist can easily hide an explosive under a robe or in a jacket," said Governor Midjiyawa Bakari, who realizes that banning burqas will not eliminate the attacks. "The terrorists change strategy all the time, and we must adjust."
Cameroon borders Boko Haram's home state of Nigeria, and its government has also enacted restrictions on tinted vehicle windows and motorcycles.