Switzerland’s relations with the Muslim world are under scrutiny after the Alpine nation voted to ban the building of new mosque minarets.
Commercial and diplomatic repercussions could follow yesterday’s surprise result of a nationwide referendum. The right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which put forward the proposal, is delighted that more than 57 percent of voters backed the ban. But not all Swiss citizens are celebrating today. “I was absolutely surprised because I thought that would never pass,” said one man in Geneva. “I was actually quite disgusted by the result. I think it is against the fundamental values of freedom of speech and I am actually kind of ashamed to be Swiss this morning.” another man added. “I am a bit sad,” said a woman. “I think that everyone should have the right to practice their own religion and Switzerland should be worth its reputation as a neutral country.” The Swiss government opposes the ban, saying it violates the constitution, but it has agreed to respect the people’s decision. As protests against the result took place, the Vatican and EU countries added their condemnation.