Over 57% of Swiss people have voted yes to a ban on mosque minarets in a referendum.
It was a proposal by the Swiss People’s Party. They argued that minarets bring the Muslim faith out into the public domain and reflect a demand for political power, an argument Swiss Muslims have rejected.
Oskay Freysinger, a politician who supported the ban said minarets are in the private sphere of religious practice and there is a conflict between two communities’ concepts of their basic rights.
Olivier Français of the Free Democratic Party said: “I hope there will be some calm tomorrow and over the following days, because there’s a lot of emotions in different communities, nationally and internationally. Let us remember that the federal constitution gives and respects everyone’s freedom of religious belief.”
The Swiss government had urged voters to reject the ban as unconstitutional. They argued it would stir up unrest among the Muslim community and damage Swiss relations with Islamic countries.
One Swiss Muslim said: “It’s a result that we are going to need some time to take in. But we will accept it and learn to live with it.”
The Green Party wants to take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Muslims make up less than 5% of the Swiss population with the majority coming from the Balkans. Switzerland has four mosques minarets and two more were planned.
Swiss vote to ban mosque minarets