Could Switzerland’s vote to ban new mosque minarets create a domino effect across Europe?
After more than 57 percent of Swiss citizens backed the ban in a referendum, the wider implications are now stirring debate. The right-wing Swiss People’s Party put forward the proposal. Its adoption has been criticised by the current Swedish EU Presidency. Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask said: “I don’t think you can build a good Europe without the right to express yourself, the rights to have the beliefs you have. I think that is the problem.” While condemnation has been expressed across Europe, the Swiss vote was welcomed by one controversial Dutch member of parliament, who has been accused of Islamophobia. “I really would hope that other countries would follow,” said Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party. “I will take, myself, an initiative in the Dutch parliament to also come with a resolution to try to get such a referendum against more minarets in the Netherlands as well.” The Swiss government opposes the ban, saying it violates the constitution. But it has agreed to respect the people’s decision, meaning the building of new minarets will no longer be allowed.