Swiss banks could pay a price for the country’s decision to ban new mosque minarets, with calls for Muslims to empty their accounts in protest.
Withdrawals in response to Sunday’s referendum result backing the ban are expected by the Turkish Minister leading his country’s EU accession talks. Egemen Bagis stressed the doors of the Turkish banking sector were wide open to Muslims. Urging peaceful reactions to the ballot, he said Switzerland must remove what he called “this shame” as soon as possible. Turkish leaders had already denounced the ban, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning against a rise in racism in Europe. He believes such a question linked to religious rights should never have been put to the popular vote. Swiss commercial and diplomatic relations with the Muslim world are under scrutiny after voters defied their government to back the right-wing initiative. Those behind it say their aim is not to prevent people practicing their religion but to stop political Islam. But, within Switzerland itself, many are alarmed at the outcome. Thousands have taken to the streets of the French-speaking part of the country to demonstrate their disgust.