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Should wearing burqa be banned in Switzerland? Swiss citizens to vote on March 7

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Switzerland is set to vote on whether covering of full facial should be banned or not. The public will go for vote on March 7 when they will also vote on a range of other issues as part of the country’s direct democratic system.

The text of the proposed ban does not mention Muslim veils explicitly, stating only that “no one shall cover their face in public, nor in areas accessible to the public or in areas where services are ordinarily accessible to all”.

A similar burqa ban was imposed previously by other European nations including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark.

But the proposal, which has been opposed by the Swiss government, is widely seen as targeting niqabs, burqas and other face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women.

The initiative proposes some exceptions to the ban, including in “places of worship” and for “health reasons”.

The main argument by the proponents of the ban appears to be security concerns and to a lesser extent Islamophobic sentiments.

The ballot on the proposed burka ban comes nearly 12 years after Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets, in what was seen as a political upset.

The grouping behind the burqa ban proposal – the “Egerkinger Komitee” that includes members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) – was also behind the 2009 move to ban minarets, which was approved by nearly 60% of voters.

Supporters of the 2009 proposal saw the minarets as alien to Swiss traditions and values at a time of growing unease over the activities of Islamist militants in Europe and the Middle East.

Muslims make up only about 5% of Switzerland’s 8.6 million people, official statistics show.

Entertainment

‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’ star Helen McCory dies due to cancer

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British film, television and stage actress Helen McCrory has died aged 52 from cancer, her husband and fellow actor Damian Lewis said on Thursday. McCrory “died peacefully at home surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family”, Lewis wrote on Twitter, calling his late wife “beautiful and mighty”.

“We love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly,” the actor added, explaining she had died “after a heroic battle with cancer”.McCrory was best known as a star of the hit BBC crime drama ‘Peaky Blinders’ and for the role of Narcissa Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films, as the mother of the boy wizard’s school-aged rival.

She played Cherie Blair, the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, twice in both the “The Queen” (2006) and “The Special Relationship” (2010), and played fictional British interior minister Clair Dowar in the James Bond film “Skyfall” (2012).

Born in Paddington in west London in 1968 to a Welsh mother and Scottish-born father, McCrory was the eldest of three children. She attended school in southeast England and spent a year living in Italy before studying acting at London’s Drama Centre.

A lengthy acting career followed, which saw her play a multitude of roles on the small and big screen, as well as on stage. McCrory and Lewis, who starred in the US TV series Homeland, married in 2007. The pair met performing in the Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” as comedic protagonists Beatrice and Benedick.

 

In 2011, she told the Independent newspaper she had eschewed celebrity but was honoured to have played such interesting roles. An actor’s job, she said, was to “reassure the audience that life, as muddled and as wonderful as it is, is worth living”.

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