Xenophobic parties want referendum on minarets
Following the banning of Swiss’s minarets, European political groups such as the Freedom Party in the Netherlands says it wants to hold a referendum too.The Hague – Opposition Freedom Party said it wanted a referendum on the building of minarets similar to the one held in Switzerland on Sunday.
Leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, expected the Dutch to ban new minarets just like a 57.5 percent majority of Swiss did.
The referendum result is hailed as a breakthrough by the opposition MP. He said: "It's the first time that people in Europe have stood up to a form of Islamisation."
Other xenophobic nationalist parties in Europe are taking a similar line to the Freedom Party in the Netherlands.
Mario Borghezio, a Euro-MP for Italy's Northern League (Lega Nord) called for a referendum in Italy and said: "The flag of a courageous Switzerland which wants to remain Christian is flying over a near-Islamised Europe."
Switzerland is home to six million Christians and 400,000 Muslims. There are currently 200 mosques in the Alpine country, but only four minarets.
International reactions to the Swiss vote have been negative and critical.
Islamic countries, and Muslims in Switzerland itself, said banning the building of new minarets puts limits on freedom of religion.
"It's an insult to all Muslims," said Egypt's Great Mufti Ali Gomaa.
"The most painful for us is not the minaret ban, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community," said the group’s head, Farhad Afshar, at the joint Islamic Organisations in Switzerland.
The Swiss government is obliged by law to implement the ban following the popular vote in favour. However, the measure is likely to be found in contravention of international agreements, to which Switzerland is bound, such as the European Human Rights Convention and United Nations agreements on human rights.
The Swiss ban also comes under criticism by current EU chair Sweden.
"I don't think we can build a Europe without that freedom," Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said in Brussels.
"It's a manifestation of intolerance," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a reaction.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica