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Swiss State Bans Burqas Under Threat Of $10,000 Fine

Ticino, a Swiss state on the border of Italy, has banned women from wearing burqas in public. On Nov. 24, a law went into effect banning those types of body coverings used by Muslim women, imposing fines of nearly $10,000 on offenders. 

The ban was voted on in 2013 and more than 50 percent of residents voted in its favor, the International Business Times reported. Other types of face coverings such as masks, balaclavas or crash helmets are allowed, but even tourists are subject to the burqa ban, Independent reported.

Giorgio Ghiringhelli, who drew up the proposal, said the point was to attack “Islamist fundamentalists.”

“Those who want to integrate are welcome irrespective of their religion,” he said. “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 new law was decried by groups like Amnesty International, which said the vote was a “black day for human rights in Ticino.”

Ticino isn’t the only area to ban similar religious garments. France, Belgium and the Netherlands have passed similar laws, but a nationwide ban on burqas in Switzerland was blocked by parliament in 2012.

Sources: Independent, International Business Times Image via Patrick Denker/Flickr

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