Swiss want to ban burqa

Geneva - A majority of Swiss citizens are in favour of banning the wearing of the burqa, a poll released on Sunday found.

According to Swiss television, 57.6% of those interviewed for the survey favoured outlawing the Islamic garb for women which covers the entire body.

Last year, a nationwide Swiss referendum prompted criticism across Europe as nearly 58 % of Swiss citizens had voted in favour of a law to ban building new minarets across the country.

In Sunday's poll, 26.5% were against banning the burqa, while 15.9% remained undecided.

The poll was conducted for the German-language SonntagsBlick newspaper, interviewing a total of 502 people aged 14-59, from all regions of Switzerland.

The local council in Aargau, a canton (state) in the north of Switzerland along the German border, voted overwhelmingly earlier this month to work on an initiative to make wearing the burqa in public places illegal across the country. Most major parties backed the move.

Pushing the motion forward, the centrist and right wing parties in favour said the head-to-foot garment was a "symbol of male dominance over women."

The Swiss Federal Council, the executive branch of government, earlier this year said it opposed a ban, noting the small number of women in the Alpine land who wear the garb.

Other countries in Europe, including Austria, Belgium and France have had parties or lobby groups in recent months push for similar bans on the garment.

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