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Swiss politician says hijab should be banned from passports

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Swiss politician says hijab should be banned from passports

NEWISSUES, Abuja

Mr Wobmann claims it is ‘unequal treatment’ that headscarves are allowed in passport photos while headbands and caps are not

A Swiss politician has signalled that women should not be allowed to wear the hijab in passport photographs.

Walter Wobmann, a member of the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party, said it was unfair that headscarves were allowed in passport photos while other headwear, such as hair bands and caps are not.

Mr Wobmann, who has campaigned against minarets and the burka in Switzerland in the past, claimed the policy was an act of “unequal treatment”, according to Swiss daily newspaper Blick.

He said: “It is unacceptable that you can wear a hijab in a photo but not a cap. This is not a question of religious freedom but of equal treatment.”

The official guidelines for passport and identity card photos in Switzerland, outlined by the Swiss federal police (FedPol), rule that headscarves are permitted in passport and driving licence photographs for reasons of faith – so long as the face is identifiable.

The rules state: “Headcoverings are in principle unacceptable […] exceptions are only made for medical or religious reasons. In those cases the face must be visible […] and there should not be shadows on the face.”

When asked whether he intended to campaign for an outright ban on headscarves in passport photos, Mr Wobmann responded that he was waiting for a response from the Federal Council before deciding on further steps.

In the UK a head covering is allowed on passports and IDs if it is for religious purpose. The same applies in the United States, but an additional letter is required stating that it is for religious purposes.

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