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Posters inflame minaret debate in Switzerland

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Posters inflame minaret debate in Switzerland

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A poster which critics say incites hatred of Muslims is provoking intense debate in Switzerland.

It is part of a campaign supported by the anti-immigration Popular Party to ban the building of minarets, the towers from which Muslims are called to prayer. The move will be put to a nationwide vote at the end of November. A federal anti-racism body has condemned the poster and some cities have banned it. There were mixed views in Geneva. One man said: “I support banning this kind of poster. They just stir up trouble in the coutry.” Another said: “We’re a democracy, I don’t think a ban is necessary. But people have to use their intelligence and see what’s behind the message.” “Is it normal to ban a poster during an election campaign?” a woman was asked. She answered: “If it goes beyond acceptable limits, yes.” Reflecting the division on the streets some cities have banned the image while others have not, claiming that would curtail free speech. At the moment polls suggest the move against the construction of minarets will be defeated. But there is a large number of undecided voters so the vote could be close.