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Swiss Islamic Council deeply concerned over ban of Niqab in country

By Tamer Aboalenin

GENEVA, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) Thursday expressed its deep concern about the accord reached by the Swiss Federal Parliament on a ban of the Niqab by a majority of 101 to 77 votes. The ban was proposed by the right wing Swiss Peoples Party (known as SVP).
Speaking to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the Islamic Central Council's spokesman, Qaasim Illi, expressed hops that, "the Council of States would be rational and correct the National Council's failings just as they had rejected a similar attempt by the representatives of the State of Aargau northern of Switzerland." He further outlined that what causes uneasiness about the National Council's decision was the impression given by the legislators that Islam was rejected by the Swiss society, Muslims were not welcomed and that this political trend was on the rise among the Swiss.
Illi also expressed his surprise that the SVP managed to win the support of the Swiss Liberal party as well as the Christian Democrats.
"The cause raises fears of negative repercussions for an estimated 200 veiled Muslim women in Switzerland in addition to a further deterioration of the country's image abroad, given that the ban on minarets still remains trapped in the minds of the people," said Illi to KUNA.
The ICCS state that a large number of female tourists from Islamic countries visiting Switzerland wear the Niqab and are used to spending their vacation in luxury tourist areas that generate considerable amounts of revenue for the country- much more that than tourists in other regions of the world.
The ICCS also highlighted the fact that Islamophobia was not a phenomena restricted to politicians but rather appears to be a wider social problem, where Muslims suffer in their daily lives leading to discrimination in the job and housing markets.
According to the ICCS, Muslim women are mostly affected by Islamophobia specifically those who face difficulties for wearing the Islamic head scarf-hijab in some public schools or when trying to find a job. These women often get confronted with verbal attacks whilst trying to adhere to the Islamic dress code.
The draft resolution aims at banning all kinds of face covering in public transportation, public service offices and at demonstrations. An exception is being made for the annual carnivals, which allow for different masks and other forms of face coverings as part of the Swiss tradition. (end) ta.gta KUNA 291148 Sep 11NNNN