Vatican and Muslims condemn Swiss minaret ban vote

Vatican and Muslims condemn Swiss minaret ban vote

Religious leaders across the world have criticised Switzerland's referendum vote to ban the building of minarets, BBC reported.

The Vatican joined Muslim figureheads from Indonesia and Egypt, as well as Switzerland, in denouncing the vote as a blow to religious freedom.

France's FM Bernard Kouchner expressed shock at the ban which, he said, showed "intolerance" and should be reversed.

More than 57.5% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban on Sunday.

The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which said minarets were a sign of Islamisation.

'Expression of intolerance'

The Vatican on Monday endorsed a statement by the conference of Swiss Bishops criticising the vote for heightening "the problems of cohabitation between religions and cultures".

Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa described the ban as an insult to the feelings of the Muslim community in Switzerland and elsewhere.
   
Gavin Hewitt

Sunday's surprise result also prompted dismay from secular leaders in Europe.

"I am a bit shocked by this decision," Mr Kouchner told France's RTL radio on Monday. "It is an expression of intolerance and I detest intolerance.

"I hope the Swiss will reverse this decision quickly."

The Swiss government had opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland's image, particularly in the Muslim world.

The vote is very bad news for the Swiss government which fears unrest among the Muslim community, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Bern.

Voters worried about rising immigration - and with it the rise of Islam - had ignored the government's advice, our correspondent adds.

The government said it accepted the decision, and that the construction of new minarets would no longer be permitted.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said: "Concerns [about Islamic fundamentalism] have to be taken seriously.

"However, a ban on the construction of new minarets is not a feasible means of countering extremist tendencies."

She sought to reassure Swiss Muslims, saying the decision was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture".

'Major problems'

Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets.

After Christianity, Islam is the most widespread religion in Switzerland, but it remains relatively hidden.

There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.

Supporters of a ban claimed that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

Bernard Kouchner, file pic from November 2009
Mr Kouchner said he hoped the Swiss would reverse the decision

But others say the referendum campaign incited hatred. On Thursday the Geneva mosque was vandalised for the third time during the campaign, according to local media.

Amnesty International said the vote violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss supreme court or the European Court of Human Rights.

The president of Zurich's Association of Muslim Organisations, Tamir Hadjipolu, told the BBC: "This will cause major problems because during this campaign mosques were attacked, which we never experienced in 40 years in Switzerland.

"Islamaphobia has increased intensively."

Sunday's referendum was held after the SVP collected 100,000 signatures from voters within 18 months calling for a vote.

In recent years, countries across Europe have been debating how best to integrate Muslim populations.

France focused on the headscarf, while in Germany there was controversy over plans to build one of Europe's largest mosques.

Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Loading Bars
Latest
Azercell’s high-speed mobile internet continues to cover on and under the ground
High provision of reserves positively affects Azerbaijan's sovereign rating - Gazprombank
Azerbaijan establishes Commercialization & Technology Transfer Center
Azerbaijan's MoD shows footage from Zangilan's Najaflar village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan maintaining stable credit position despite pandemic - Renaissance Capital
Azerbaijani currency rates for Apr. 23
Georgia, Bulgaria aiming for improvement of maritime shipping
Growing share of renewables to cause electricity price volatility
Azerbaijan enters era of fourth industrial revolution based on artificial intelligence - Ministry
India's posts world record daily COVID cases for second straight day
Situation in Azerbaijan’s Ganja city following Armenia's attack – war crime, French lawyer says
Georgia shares data on revenues from excise taxes in 1Q2021
EBRD aims to finance main economic spheres in Georgia
13 patients killed in hospital fire in western India
Azerbaijan applies world experience in construction of digital cities
Russia and Azerbaijan interested in Georgian mussels and oysters
Lending to legal entities, individuals in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan drops
Georgia reveals volume of taxes, paid by its citizens
Azerbaijan discloses data on 1Q2021 oil export to Israel
EU leaders seek to lead climate action in carbon trading
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter logs another successful flight on Mars
More than 874,000 COVID-19 infections detected worldwide over past 24 hours
Iran cuts number of centrifuges enriching uranium to 60% purity, IAEA report says
3 rockets land near Baghdad airport in Iraq
Israel reports 189 new COVID-19 cases, 837,668 in total
Eight missing in Shanghai factory fire
Georgian FM meets Turkish counterpart in Bucharest
UN Environment, WHO support Georgia in deciding on regulation on lead paint
Uzbekistan’s business activity index sharply increases
55 new cases of "double mutation" variant found in UK in latest week
Azerbaijani athlete reaches final of European Artistic Gymnastics Championships
Azerbaijan's banking sector wraps up 1Q2021 with profit
Internet data transmission speed slightly down in Azerbaijan
National Bank of Georgia sells funds at foreign exchange auction
Georgia sees increase in vegetables export
State Customs Committee discloses export of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Georgia
Turkmen Ministry of Agriculture extends tender for purchase of necessary goods
Flydubai to resume flights at Georgian Batumi International Airport
Polymetal International boosts gold output in Kazakhstan, Russia
Brazil reports 3,472 more deaths
Kazakh gas supply company opens tender for construction of operational base
Georgia unveils data on exports of fruits and nuts in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan plans to increase production of fish and fish products
Turkey’s export of furniture and timber to Turkmenistan down
Kyrgyzstan ranks second in world in terms of cheapest mobile internet
Iran's annual exports of dried fruit, nuts grows %42
Georgia opens 69-th online session of UN Economic Commission for Europe
World community must know about Armenian atrocities in Azerbaijan – French lawyer
PM Modi announces India-US partnership on climate, clean energy
Azerbaijan Airlines to start operating special flights to London
Building of Azerbaijan’s Mud Volcanoes Tourism Complex to look like crater from above
Strengthening confidence-building measures in Azerbaijan-Armenia relations most important - Russian MFA
Georgia publishes budget performance report of 1Q2021
French lawyers arrive in Azerbaijan’s Ganja city, shelled by Armenia during war (PHOTO)
EIB financing helped to launch 60 satellites into space in 2020
EIB likely to support dev’t of renewable energy sphere in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for Apr. 22
Azerbaijan confirms 2,047 more COVID-19 cases, 2,610 recoveries
Baku entitled to demand compensation from Armenia – Russian political analyst
IATA revises 2021 forecasts of world airlines losses
Azerbaijan to open tourism bureau in Israel
Belarus to supply components for Azerbaijan to assemble tractors in 2021
Several more Russian airlines allowed to operate flights to Baku
EIB exploring new project ideas to support digitalization across Eastern Partnership
SOCAR won't participate in sales of Antipinski Refinery’s property
NCOC talks Marine Access Channels Project plans at Kazakh Kashagan field
Azerbaijan's Aghdam in complete ruins - French lawyer
Uzbekistan’s Central Bank notes decrease of inflation rate
EAG working on assessing Turkmenistan's compliance with FATF recommendations
Uzbekistan GTL to buy pipes via tender
Kazakhstan’s KazTransOil to pay out dividends for 2020
Economy Ministry shares data on revenues from Azerbaijan's non-oil and gas sector
Turkmenistan elected member of Executive Board of UN Entity for Gender Equality, Empowerment of Women
Historical monuments in Azerbaijan's Aghdam vandalized - French criminal justice attorney
Kazakhstan’s KazTransOil decreases oil transshipment volumes in 1Q2021
Turkmenistan increases processing of agricultural products
Turkmen company exports tomatoes to Austria
Autoclave gas blocks plant construction launched in Kazakhstan's Turkestan
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan launches new communication facilities in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan sees decrease in insurance portfolio for 1Q2021
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan State Statistical Committee shares data on reconstruction of roads
Equinor to electrify over 35% of its total oil & gas output base by 2025
Russia leads among countries exporting goods to Azerbaijan
Iran’s CBI allocates funds for import of essential products
Output from Georgian Enguri HPP to increase after reconstruction - Director of Enguri HPP
Azerbaijan shares footage from Jabrayil's Shahverdili village (VIDEO)
Tesla opens Tel Aviv pop-up store
Russian airline receives permission to operate flights to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s 3M2021 retail trade turnover of small business decreases
Number of bank accounts increases in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan
American Airlines loss narrows as travel demand picks up
Azerbaijan jointly with Russia sets up car manufacturing enterprise
Number of innovative companies worldwide grows
Kazakhstan boosts production of coal, some petroleum products
Swiss president heads for damage-control EU summit
Etihad Airways to stop operating Boeing 777-300ER jets this year
Installation of info boards on roads leading to Azerbaijan's liberated lands continues (VIDEO)
French human rights activists visiting Azerbaijan's Aghdam (PHOTO)
Georgia increases imports of tomatoes from Azerbaijan
All news