Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in 'burqa ban' vote
A far-right proposal to ban facial coverings in Switzerland won a narrow victory in a binding referendum on Sunday instigated by the same group that organised a 2009 ban on new minarets, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2-48.8% margin, provisional official results showed.
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, yet local politicians, media and campaigners have dubbed it the burqa ban.
Muslim groups condemned the vote and said they would challenge it.
Two Swiss cantons already have local bans on face coverings, although almost no one in Switzerland wears a burqa and only around 30 women wear the niqab, the University of Lucerne estimates. Muslims make up 5% of the Swiss population of 8.6 million people, most with roots in Turkey, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The government had urged people to vote against a ban.