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Vote against minaret sparks global outrage.
Vote against minaret sparks global outrage.
Switzerland's decision to ban the construction of mosque minarets has sparked criticism fro politicians and religious figures worldwide.
Wednesday, December 2,2009 19:50
IkhwanWeb

Switzerland's decision to ban the construction of mosque minarets has sparked criticism fro politicians and religious figures worldwide.

The Alpine country held a nationwide referendum on Sunday, surveying the opinion of whether to allow the building of new minarets - towers on mosques from where Muslims are called to prayer. A total of 57.5% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons backed the proposal, put forward by the rightist Swiss People's Party (SVP).

The government and parliament had spoken against the initiative, but were forced to accept the popular vote. Switzerland has 400,000 Muslims out of a total population of 7.7 million. The Swiss government said in a statement "A majority of the Swiss people and the cantons have adopted the popular initiative against the construction of minarets. The Federal Council respects this decision. Consequently the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is no longer permitted

"The result of this referendum goes against the values of tolerance, dialogue and respect for other people's beliefs which the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly have always upheld," activists said." The vote results show the Swiss do not want minarets or Sharia law in their country," People may practice their religion, that is no problem," but that this group wanted to stop "political Islam" from gaining ground in Switzerland.

But the government and parliament knows that this will breach the European convention on human rights and the UN charter proscribing discrimination on religious grounds and entrenching freedom of religion.
The clause would be discriminatory because it singles out one religion, Islam, for restrictive treatment. The backers of the campaign respond that this is irrelevant since minarets have nothing to do with religion, but are a "political symbol". Mosque-building is not being banned and Muslims in Switzerland are free to observe their religion.

Nevertheless Muslim leaders from Manama, Cairo, and Paris in fact worldwide have expressed dismay over Switzerland's shock vote to ban the construction of new minarets.

Denouncing the decision, Kuwaiti religious scholars said Arab and Muslim diplomats and the Organization of Islamic Conference should take up the issue with the Swiss authorities.

"Switzerland has always promoted respect for human rights and religious pluralism, and international law calls for respect for religious minorities. Muslim and Arab diplomats should submit a formal complaint to Swiss courts," Dr Bassam Al Shatti, head of religious studies at the University of Kuwait, said.

Egypt's Mufti Ali Juma'a said: "It [the ban] constitutes an attempt to insult the feelings of Muslims inside and outside Switzerland," adding that the move can deepen "hatred and discrimination" against Muslims.

Lebanese cleric Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah said the ban was in line with a media frenzy to portray Muslims negatively. He urged the West to seek better understanding of Islam.

Maskuri Abdullah, the head of Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia, which has 40 million members in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, condemned the vote and called on followers not to be provoked by it.

In Pakistan, Khurshid Ahmad, vice-president of Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party represented in parliament, said: "This development reflects extreme Islamophobia among people in the West."

Analysts say the ban could cause an outflow of Arab investment from Switzerland claiming that" The vote outcome is a result of skillful propaganda."

tags: Minaret / Switzerland / Politicians / Religious Figures / SVP / Parliament / Swiss Government / Political Islam.
Posted in Islamic Issues , Human Rights  
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