eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • December 2020 : Website of information on Islam and Muslims in Switzerland

A website of information on Islam and Muslims in the Swiss context has been set up by the Centre Suisse Islam et Société of the University of Fribourg, Islam&Society.
It is divided into two main sections : one on Muslim women and Muslims in Switzerland (socio-demographic data, history of presence, Muslim organisations and public debates) and a second thematic section with information on Muslim social action, chaplaincy, gender-sexuality, discrimination, youth, imams, media and radicalisation.

  • June 2020 : Anti Burqa Initiative rejected by the Swiss Parliament

The National Council has just decided on a popular initiative (Switzerland being a direct democracy) in 2017 aimed at banning face coverings in public spaces, launched at the federal level by the Egerkingen Committee. This group was also behind the initiative against the construction of minarets, accepted by the Swiss people in 2009. In September 2019, the Council of States rejected the initiative now known as “anti-burqa”. In June 2020, the National Council, the second parliamentary body, also said it was against the initiative. It will now be up to the people to decide on this matter.

The debate is structured mainly around wearing the burqa or the niqab, as the draft law provides to have it stated in the Constitution that “no one can force a person to hide their face on the grounds of gender”. However, the initiative also targets other forms of concealment, such as hooligan hoods. Notwithstanding, a number of exceptions are granted for situations related to security, climate reasons, local customs or health, to name but a few. This last point will avoid the risk of a ban on the wearing of health masks, which became of importance during the coronavirus crisis.

Opposition to this initiative, mainly made up of left-wing parties or NGOs such as HumanRights, denounces its Islamophobic implications as well as the violation of individual freedom. The Left also argues that women wearing full face veils in Switzerland account for only a tiny minority of Muslim women in Switzerland. There are no statistics on the wearing of the burqa or niqab in the country ; however, while in 2009 according to the Ministry of the Interior there were around 1,630 women wearing this type of clothing, it is estimated that in Switzerland the figure is between 95 and 130. Lastly, this initiative can be seen as an instrument of the Right to stigmatise Muslim women in Switzerland.

Note that two similar initiatives were accepted at the cantonal level, in Ticino in 2013 and in the canton of Saint Gall in 2018. These cantonal laws provide for a minimum fine of CHF 100 in the event of infringement.

Voir Le temps.

  • May 2020 : Coronavirus and religious life in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the Covid-19 pandemic brought about a variety of changes in religious and spiritual life. For two months, places of worship had to close their doors, fostering variations on traditional practices and the emergence of new interpretations.

In the Catholic church, for example, it is usually extremely rare for women to speak during religious services. However, due to the impossibility of attending celebrations and the absence of a priest, certain ceremonies such as the Eucharist were an opportunity for innovation and gave women the chance to take the floor.

Religious ceremonies, across all denominations, were mostly cancelled for several months before being able to resume subject to conditions on 28 May. In contrast, funerals were allowed but with only families in attendance. These restrictions have led to adjustments and creative solutions to support bereaved families.

The health crisis has also given rise to various interpretations of the world, the individual and the virus. The Intercantonal Centre for Information on Beliefs asserts that currents such as televangelists or Jehovah’s Witnesses rely on apocalyptic interpretation and associate the virus with divine punishment that purportedly confirms biblical writings. Meanwhile, New-Age and neo-shamanic spiritual circles interpret the virus differently, with humanity being perceived as “an enormous coronavirus for the planet”.

  • January 2020 : Increase in "no religion" and other developments in Switzerland

According to the structural survey conducted in 2018 (the results of which were published in 2020 by the Federal Statistical Office), the percentage of “non-religious” people in Switzerland increased sharply between 2010 and 2018, reaching 25% of the population. In the 1970s, Catholics and Protestants still accounted for almost the entirety of the population. The decrease in proportion of people identifying with these two religions is such that in 2018, Catholics accounted for only 36.5% of the population, and Protestants 24.4%. The percentage of Muslim people, on the other hand, increased by 0.8% to 5.2% of the population. Buddhists (0.5%) and Hindus (0.6%) outnumber the Jewish community, which accounts for only 0.3%.

As regards religious practice, less than 20% of “non-religious” people attended an institutional religious event over the course of the year preceding the survey. The religious group reporting the lowest practice levels is Muslim men, the percentage of which had not attended an event and did not pray amounted to 46% and 40% respectively. They were followed by Muslim women, reformed Protestants and lastly, Roman Catholics. In contrast, 72% of members of evangelical communities reported having participated in a religious celebration at least once a week. Lastly, women generally pray more than men and are more likely to belong to a religion.

Main sources : SFO website and Le Matin.

D 2 décembre 2020    ANatalie Aberer

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Suivez nous :
© 2002-2024 eurel - Contact