Protesters condemn Swiss minaret ban

14th December 2009, Comments 1 comment

Some 500 protesters gathered outside parliament in Bern on Saturday to condemn a Swiss ban on building new minarets.

Bern -- Some 500 protesters gathered outside parliament in Bern on Saturday to condemn a Swiss ban on the building of new minarets, approved in a referendum in November.

Some were seen with cardboard placards reading "Islam" and "We are Muslims, not Hitler," as organisers from the Swiss central Islamic council, sought to send a message that Islam is a peaceful religion that teaches its followers to respect other faiths.

Nicolas Blancho, a Swiss Muslim co-organiser of the demonstration, told the crowd that Muslims are not seeking to impose sharia law in Switzerland, the domestic ATS news agency reported.

In an unexpected outcome, 57.5 percent of Swiss voters in a 29 November referendum approved a proposal put forward by the far right to ban the construction of minarets.

The move drew widespread criticism, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay calling the ban "deeply discriminatory, deeply divisive and a thoroughly unfortunate step for Switzerland to take."

The Swiss government sought to assure the country's 400,000 Muslims, who are mainly of Balkan and Turkish origin, that the outcome was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture."

Switzerland has around 200 mosques, with just four minarets between them.

AFP / Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • David posted:

    on 20th January 2010, 20:24:07 - Reply

    This is only a ban on minarets, not on mosques. There is outrage from the UN and Islamic groups. How shocking. Where is the outrage that Jews cannot even pray let alone rebuild on their holiest site, the Temple Mount, in their holy city of Jerusalem without muslims stoning them? Where is the outrage over the muslims blowing up the historical ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan? Where is the outrage over the muslims destroying the Sikh Golden Temple? Where is the outrage over Armenian churches being destroyed or converted to mosques? Where is the outrage over muslims destruction of Egyptian Coptic Christians home, business and churches? What about the conversion of the Tejo Mahalaya, a Hindu temple palace now known as the Taj Mahal, to an Islamic shrine, or the Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul converted to a mosque? Interesting how in muslim countries, a minaret is not required of a mosque. Muslims are the last people who should be lecturing others about intolerance.