In the Swiss region of Ticino, women wearing burkas or niqabs in public will be dealt a heavy fine.
In the Italian-speaking region of Ticino in Switzerland, a referendum to outlaw the wearing of burkas in public was voted on in 2013, and passed by two out of three voters. In light of recent terror attacks and the threat Europe is facing, the Swiss Parliament voted on and passed the referendum. According to The Local, it is now illegal for women in Ticino, to wear a burka or cover their faces in places like shops, restaurants, and any public buildings. Furthermore, it is also a criminal offence for women to cover their face while driving; offenders will be fined 6,500 EUR.
The law - in spite of the Ticino government's request - doesn't include other face coverings, such as masks and balaclavas. The law applies only to the traditional Muslim attire, with no exception for Muslim tourists, who last year accounted for 40,000 visitors in Ticino alone. The new Ticino law is similar to France's burka ban that was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in July 2014.
The man who drew up the law, Giorgio Ghiringhelli, said that this law will send a message to "Islamist fundamentalists" that are in Ticino. “Those who want to integrate are welcome, irrespective of their religion,” he added, concluding that “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.” Amnesty International said that the move is detrimental and that it is a "black day for human rights in Ticino."
A similar law in France failed to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. Not only that, but according to Agnès de Féo, - a sociologist and film maker who's been studying the subject for 10 years - the law "created a monster," and that "those who have left to go and fight in Syria say that this law is one of the things that encouraged them. They saw it as a law against Islam. It had the effect of sending a message that Islam was not welcome in France.” De Féo also said that "the women who wore niqab before these laws were applied were hardly a threat to French culture or society.”
It appears that European Islamophobia continues to spread like wildfire.