ZURICH — A far-right proposal to ban facial coverings in Switzerland won a narrow victory in a binding referendum on Sunday instigated by the same group that organized a 2009 ban on new minarets.

The measure to amend the Swiss constitution passed by a 51.2-48.8% margin, provisional official results showed.

The proposal under the Swiss system of direct democracy does not mention Islam directly. Also, it aims to stop violent street protesters from wearing masks, yet local politicians, media, and campaigners have dubbed it the burqa ban.

“In Switzerland, our tradition is that you show your face. That is a sign of our basic freedoms,” Walter Wobmann, chairman of the referendum committee and a member of parliament for the Swiss People’s Party, had said before the vote.

He called facial covering “a symbol for this extreme, political Islam which has become increasingly prominent in Europe and has no place in Switzerland.”

Of course, far-leftists and Islamic extremist activists were not in favor of such a law:

“The Central Council of Muslims in Switzerland called the vote a dark day for the community.

“Today’s decision opens old wounds, further expands the principle of legal inequality, and sends a clear signal of exclusion to the Muslim minority,” it said.

It promised legal challenges to laws implementing the ban and a fundraising drive to help women be fined.

“After the ban on minarets, a majority of Swiss voters has once again backed an initiative that discriminates against a single religious community and needlessly stirs up fears and division,” Amnesty International said.

“The veiling ban is not a measure for women’s liberation, but a dangerous symbolic policy that violates freedom of expression and religion.”

The Swiss ban comes after several other countries and locals enacted similar legislation:

France banned wearing a full-face veil in public in 2011, and Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria have full or partial bans on wearing face coverings in publicMuslims make up 5% of the Swiss population of 8.6 million people, most with roots in Turkey, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

While it is worrisome that the quite socially liberal Swiss feel the need to ban any clothing, it is likely acting as a proxy fix for other problems facing Switzerland’s society that current left-wing politicians and regulations are refusing to address–or are encouraging.