Swiss region wants nationwide burqa ban

Burqa is "a symbol of the domination of men over women”, says a Swiss lawmaker.

Updated: May 06, 2010, 09:55 AM IST

Geneva: Lawmakers in Switzerland`s northern canton (state) of Aargau have called for a nationwide ban on burqa-style Islamic garb in public spaces, Swiss newspapers reported on Wednesday.

Aargau`s Parliament voted to introduce a motion in Switzerland`s Council of States - representing the 26 cantons - that would forbid people from wearing the dress that covers women from head to toe with only a small mesh to see through.

The move, which was approved by 89 votes to 33, follows a decision by the Belgian Parliament last week to back a bill banning burqa-type clothing on security grounds.

In France, a bill that would outlaw the veils in all public places will be introduced in Parliament later this month despite a ruling by the country`s highest administrative body that it could be unconstitutional.

Zurich daily Tages-Anzeiger quoted Aargau lawmaker Rene Kunz of the far-right Swiss Democrats party as saying the burqa was "a symbol of the domination of men over women”.

Few burqas are worn in Switzerland and even members of the country`s nationalist Swiss People`s Party, which successfully campaigned for a referendum last year banning the construction of minarets, have questioned the purpose of a ban.

Ulrich Schlueer, a People`s Party lawmaker, told Tages-Anzeiger that existing laws already allow full-body coverings to be banned in public space.