Ignoring the advice of their Government, the Swiss people have voted in favour of a ban on the building of minarets in the country in a referendum held on Sunday.
Around 57% of voters said ‘no’ to minarets, many fearing that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system, Sharia law, which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.
The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People’s Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation. The referendum was held after the People’s Party collected 100,000 signatures from eligible voters within 18 months calling for a vote.
Respecting the decision, the Government has announced that no more minarets are to be built in Switzerland. There are currently four in the country. The Muslim population of Switzerland is around 400,000 people.
Amnesty International warned that the ban would violate Switzerland’s obligations to freedom of religious expression. Illogical really, because how many prayer sessions or services are actually carried out in a minaret? Or in a church belltower for that matter.
As far as one can see, the Swiss just want to keep their own traditions and laws, their own national identity, while at the same time allowing anyone else to visit or reside in the country under the proviso, ‘when in Rome…’