Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Sunday 24 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis de Sales
home iconNews
line break icon

Geneva, Switzerland votes to prohibit officials wearing religious symbols

SWISS MUSLIM WOMAN

kenchiro168/Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 02/12/19

Muslim groups and Green Party are opposed to the ban

Switzerland is famous for its neutrality during wartime. Now, citizens of Geneva, its second-most populous city have decided to impose a particular kind of neutrality on its elected officials.

The city’s new new “secularism law,” which voters approved in a plebiscite Sunday, will among other things ban elected officials and public employees from wearing visible religious symbols.

More than 55 percent of voters in the Swiss canton backed the law, according to Agence France-Presse. AFP explains:

The new law’s stated ambition is to expand the dialogue between religious groups and the state, and to better define the limits to religious expression in the public sphere. Supporters say it will help clarify existing principles in the Geneva Constitution to protect the religious freedom of believers and non-believers alike.

The law has the backing of several major religious groups, including the Catholic Church, but is opposed by Muslim groups.

“Critics claim the law will have an oppressive and discriminatory effect, with some condemning it as Islamophobic and warning that Muslim women who wear a headscarf are being targeted,” AFP reported.

But the new regulation merely extends a ban on wearing visible religious symbols that already restricts teachers.

There are already legal challenges to the law. One comes from the Geneva Evangelical Network, which is protesting a provision in the text that would ban religious gatherings in public. The other has been lodged by the Green Party against the ban on elected officials and cantonal and local government employees who have contact with the public from wearing visible religious symbols.

“This law goes against the Swiss Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,” Sabine Tighemounine, a local elected official for the Green Party who wears a Muslim headscarf, told the ATS news agency Sunday.

Tags:
Religious Freedom
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
2
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
3
Philip Kosloski
What are the corporal works of mercy?
4
Philip Kosloski
When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?
5
PHILIP RIVERS
Cerith Gardiner
Quarterback Philip Rivers' retirement announcement reflects his s...
6
CONSOLE
Philip Kosloski
What are the spiritual works of mercy?
7
EMOTIONAL
Bret Thoman, OFS
Need healing? An exorcist recommends this 12-word prayer
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.