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Is the Swiss burka ban a tyranny of the majority?
by Sibilla Bondolfi
Swiss voters have banned the construction of new minarets, burkas and the ritual slaughter of animals for food, which some say amounts to the discrimination of religious minorities under Switzerland's direct democracy.
Since July 2016, people in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino have not been allowed to wear clothing that covers their face in public. The measure came about through a 2013 cantonal vote calling for a ban on such clothing typically worn by Muslim women. A committee is now collecting signatures for a similar nationwide ban.
Seven years earlier, voters decided to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland. And slaughtering animals for kosher and halal meat, which involves slitting the animal's throat so that it bleeds dry without stunning it first, has been forbidden in Switzerland since 1893 following a national vote. Such decisions clearly affect members of certain minority religious groups, such as Muslims and Jews.
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