Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Swiss voters have approved a proposal to ban the construction of minarets, after a rightwing campaign that labelled the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam, projections by a respected polling institute show.
The projections based on partial returns indicate that support swung from 37% in favour of the ban a week ago to 59% in today’s referendum…
The nationalist Swiss People’s party (SPP) described minarets, the distinctive spires used in most countries for calls to prayer, as symbols of rising Muslim political and religious power that could eventually turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation.
Which is fracking absurd.
Muslims make up about 6% of Switzerland’s 7.5 million people, many of them refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Fewer than 13% [of those] practice their religion, the government says, and Swiss mosques do not broadcast the call to prayer outside their buildings…
The move by the SPP, the country’s largest party in terms of popular support and membership in parliament, is part of a broader European backlash against a growing Muslim population. It has stirred fears of violent reactions in Muslim countries and an economically disastrous boycott by wealthy Muslims who bank, shop and holiday in Switzerland…
If there is a boycott – and I would support it – the Swiss would be getting what they deserve. Let their government collect taxes on purity!
The SPP has campaigned against immigrants in previous years – mainly unsuccessfully – with campaign posters showing white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag and another with brown hands grabbing eagerly for Swiss passports.
Bigotry can still be counted upon to turn out votes from ignorant fear-filled people. In any country. Though the Swiss hold more than one inauspicious record for silliness like this. After all, they didn’t allow women to vote in national elections until after 1971.