Lawmakers in the Swiss state of Ticino have reportedly passed new legislation that would outlaw the wearing of a burqa in public. Under the law, any woman who appears in public wearing a burqa would be subject to a fine of up to nearly $10,000 for the offense.
Ticino is situated in southern Switzerland near the Italian border and Italian is the official language there. It’s unclear when the new law will go into effect, but the state’s Parliament based the idea for it on a similar law that went into effect in France in 2011, and was upheld by Europe’s human rights court last year.
In addition to the burqa, a full body garment worn by many devout Muslim women, lawmakers there had also wanted to ban the niqab, a veil that covers just the face, but that proposal wasn’t passed. The national Parliament says the new law doesn’t violate federal law.
And tourists beware — there is no provision in the law exempting travelers from abroad from being slapped with a fine for going out in public while wearing a burqa. According to estimates, about 40,000 tourists from the Middle East visited Ticino last year.