On September 22, Ticino will become the first Swiss canton to hold a referendum on banning face-covering headgear in public places. Political commentators say the initiative has good chances of being accepted.
Burkas, full-body cloaks worn by some Muslim women, especially in Afghanistan, are few and far between in the Italian-speaking canton in southern Switzerland. According to official estimates, only about 100 women in Switzerland wear them.
"Hand on heart: who has ever seen a burka in Switzerland?" began an editorial in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in 2010, after canton Aargau tried to get a nationwide ban on burkas in public places (thrown out by the federal parliament two years later).