Red heads among the proponents of the veil ban: because of the mask requirement, their arguments work less well

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Now of all time. All over the country people cover their faces. They wear protective masks to protect themselves from being infected with the coronavirus. For months this has been an obligation throughout Switzerland in many situations. And now, at all times, the Swiss will vote a national ban on the veil. On March 7, the corresponding initiative of the Egerking committee, affiliated with the UDC, will go to the polls. One of its main arguments is that “free people look each other in the face when they talk to each other”.

It is not without a certain irony: the veiled voters in the public space will vote on a proposal which is directed against the veil of the face. If the ban on the veil is discussed on social networks, almost everything is there now. Supporters also admit it more or less openly: The date is unfavorable because of the ubiquitous masks.

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The initiators are currently grappling with this subject. “We had to adapt our argument,” explains Anian Liebrand. The Managing Director of the Egerkinger Committee states:

The current measures and the submission – also known as the Burka initiative – focus on completely different motives.

Education via social media

The initiators are urging their followers to share posts on Facebook and explain why there is no conflict between the corona mask requirement and the veil ban. This explains why it will be possible to wear masks for health reasons without any problem even after a yes to the initiative. And that the obligation of usury prescribed by the State is limited in time.

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Finally, in its “voting diary”, the Egerking committee discussed the controversy in detail. A nurse with a mask and visor (“Should protect public health”) can be seen next to a woman in a burqa (“Degrade the woman”). Unlike the “radical Islamist-based veil,” according to the initiators, the protective mask does not benefit society. The same goes for chaos and vandals covering their faces.

In fact, the question is legally clear: it will still be possible to wear masks for health reasons. The initiators took precautions years ago. The legislator can explicitly provide for exceptions because of “health, safety, climatic conditions and local customs”.

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A redesign is underway

The fundamental question, however, remains, and it is highly political: can the facial veil be banned and face masks applied at the same time? “Many people entitled to vote are likely to harbor conflicting feelings when filling out the ballot”, even noted “Weltwoche”.

The current situation could have an impact on the debate. For example, hostility towards Nika wearers in public spaces appears to have diminished since protective masks became a daily spectacle. At least that’s what Lucerne religious researcher Andreas Tunger-Zanetti refers to in a new study, based on experience reports. A Nikab bearer is quoted there: “Perhaps there has been a recasting in people’s minds at this time.”

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