Council of Europe urges Switzerland to lift minaret ban
Parliamentarians at the Council of Europe urged Switzerland on Wednesday to lift its controversial ban on the construction of new minarets.
The council's parliamentary assembly called on Switzerland "to enact a moratorium on, and to repeal as soon as possible, its general prohibition on the construction of minarets for mosques, which discriminates Muslim communities."
"The construction of minarets must be possible like the construction of church towers, subject to the requirements of public security and town planning," the assembly of the pan-European rights watchdog said.
Switzerland held a referendum on November 29, 2009 in which citizens voted to ban the construction of new minarets, a move that drew criticism worldwide.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has called the ban a "deeply discriminatory, deeply divisive and a thoroughly unfortunate step for Switzerland to take."
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference has also urged Swiss authorities to annul the vote.
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has called for jihad against Switzerland over its ban on new minarets.
© 2010 AFP