The masking law in one of the polls does not mention religions, but the “yes” side posters were decorated with a woman wearing a black veil with a threatening look that read “Stop extremism.”
Those who said no to the proposal to ban had a message that read: “No to a ridiculous, useless and anti-Islamic law against the burqa.”
The result was narrowly in favor of banning masking: just over 51 percent of voters voted, while nearly 49 percent voted against it.
Despite the tumultuous tone before the vote, the two sides agreed on one thing – a full-coverage veil is extremely rare in the Alpine country.
Inas al-Sheikh of the Muslim feminist group Lee Follard Violets believes that the activists have tried to create an image of a problem that does not exist.
Only 30 women wear a burqa in Switzerland, she said.
– When there is a problem, we deal with it before it gets bigger, answered the spokesperson for the pro side, Jean-Luc Ador, from the vice president of the right-wing populist party.
Another referendum concerns a trade agreement with Indonesia, which the other Free Trade Association states – Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein – signed in 2018. Even in this case, the Swiss people gave their consent by a narrow margin.
Roughly 52% are in favor and just over 48% are against.
Before the vote, critics focused on the fact that the agreement calls for lowering tariffs on the controversial palm oil, whose cultivation affects rainforests and, among other things, orangutans in Asia.