Swiss far right wins support for referendum to ban minarets
I am always amazed by the amount of effort some people expend in getting upset by what others believe or do.
SWITZERLAND: SWITZERLAND BRACED itself for a troubled campaign of Islamophobia yesterday after the far right won enough support to force a national vote to ban minarets.
In a country that is home to more than 300,000 Muslims but boasts only three minarets, a series of court cases and votes in regional parliaments has recently dismissed attempts to have minarets outlawed.
But a campaign, led by the right-wing populists of the Swiss People's Party, to enshrine a ban on minarets in the Swiss constitution yesterday mustered more than enough signatures to warrant a referendum. Disputes over mosque and minaret-building are rife across Europe, with controversies in Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands.
Christoph Blocher's anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party, which won the national elections last year after a campaign branded racist by UN monitors, has repeatedly used the building regulations and zoning laws to try to prevent minarets being built. It has failed, as in Zurich last month.
Last year a Turkish association won a supreme court case authorising it to put a minaret on a mosque in the village of Wangen. By yesterday, People's party activists had gathered 115,000 signatures, more than the 100,000 needed under Switzerland's direct democracy system.