Culture Wars

Swiss Vote Yes on Minaret Ban

Despite predictions it wouldn’t pass, the majority of Swiss voters have voted in favor of a ban on construction of minarets in the country, a move that is seen as a major blow to Switzerland’s relations with its Islamic citizens. Amnesty International and the Swiss government encouraged citizens to vote against the ban, calling it a potential violation of religious freedom and a detriment to an economy that is often bolstered by wealthy Muslims. The ban was proposed by right-wing Swiss People’s Party in response to rising immigration and what it terms “Islamisation” and will need approval from a majority of voting districts as well as today’s votes in order to pass. "During this campaign in the last two weeks different mosques were attacked, which we never experienced in 40 years in Switzerland,” said the president of Zurich’s Association of Muslim Organizations. Supporters of the ban argue that religious freedom is not in danger and that the argument is purely political. “A minaret is a political symbol,” said an SVP member of parliament. “It is a symbol for introducing, step-by-step, Sharia rights also in Switzerland, parallel to the Swiss law, which is a result of Swiss democracy. And this is the problem. It is nothing against Muslims."