And the Veils Go off in Switzerland
This month, Switzerland did away with the veils and head-face covers in their public places. Although the referendum was carried out for the sake of general safety and security of all public places, it was clearly directed against the Muslims. Switzerland has traditionally been a homogenous society where seldom anyone wanted to display their communal agenda except in the recent years. What caused it, no one has clear answer. But after 2007-08 some sections of Swiss Muslims made it a point that their women will not venture out without their religious symbol…the Burqua.
Initially, only fewer ‘indulged’ in it but later with their mosques & Mullahs brainwashing them on their Friday sermons (they call it Khutbah), more and more women were spotted with the veils. The Swiss society was not pleased with it. The local mosques were in spotlight of spreading radicalism. Amidst some other happenings at that time, the tendency of spreading radicalism was the reason why any new mosques were banned from being constructed through a referendum way back in 2009. A tendency of radicalism that had started randomly, started becoming worse after the Iraqi Islamic Fundamentalist Al-Baghdadi’s call in 2014 for Global Islamic Caliphate. The distinct religious Islamic identities (of skull-caps, beards without moustache among men and Burqa among women) were becoming more and more conspicuous esp in Muslim Ghettos. The others started becoming apprehensive with the Jihadi incidents spreading almost all over the world. Surely, this was an apprehension that started other people to avoid these Muslims with newly grown identities. Since 2015-16 with more and more illegal migrant Muslims roaming on their roads and the Jihadi activities in general increasing in Europe, the apprehension has started becoming a fear factor. Although most of the Swiss families have personal weapons to protect themselves, they still remain apprehensive of veiled attacks by unidentified individuals. The right wing political groups have been approaching the Swiss govt since 2017 to call for referendum against the veils in public. France banned wearing a full face veil in public in 2011 and Denmark, Austria the Netherlands and Bulgaria followed the suit…in full or partial bans on wearing of (Islamic) face coverings in public.
There are approximately 5.6 lakh Muslims in Switzerland, most having their roots in Turkey, Bosnia, Kosovo where Islamic radicalism flourish. However, most of the Muslims colonise themselves in ghettos and many show the mob tendencies too. Although by percentages, the Islamic radical symbolic identities could be barely among 2-5% of the Muslims, it has clearly destroyed the homogenousity and dented the trust & faith of the other citizen who perceive them as possible threats. Several radical Jihadi incidents in neighbouring Germany has already raised alarm in the Swiss societies as well. The Syrian, Afghani and African illegal Muslim migrants on the streets and roads have been further fuelling the apprehension. Hence, there has been a growing demand to ban this distinctly overt clash of identity. Its referendum was conducted on 07 Mar 21 that was passed by 51.2% of the voters. Hereafter, the Head & Face coverings that include all forms of Islamic head-coverings, will be banned in the public places of Switzerland. One can only hope that the Muslims living in homogenousity in the other parts of world take a leaf or two out of it and do not vitiate their social environment with distrust. This point is especially relevant for Muslims because in todays’ world, Islam is at odds with most, if not all other religions in the world.