Pre-election polls showed support for an initiative to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland at only about 35%. However, thanks in part to backing from feminists, the ban passed with 57.5% on Sunday, sweeping all but a few of Switzerland’s 26 cantons. The website for the ban’s supporters is here, along with a picture of a campaign poster (showing the Swiss flag punctured by missile-like minarets, along with a woman in a burka) that was banned in some cities because it was said to be discriminatory.
A legal challenge is likely under the European Convention on Human Rights. The most relevant provision is Article 9, which provides:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Proponents frequently cited the 1997 words of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion.” A useful Wikipedia article is here. Switzerland’s population is about 5-6% Muslim, mostly immigrants from southeastern Europe.
Update: A commenter asks for what the arguments were in favor of the ban. According to the website of the initiative’s proponents, the argument was that minarets are intended as a symbol of Muslim superiority, particularly of superiority to any different religious/political system, and accordingly a vote against minarets is a vote against creeping shariaism. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the initiative is not a particularly effective tool for accomplishing its proponents’ objectives, but perhaps the Swiss majority decided that it was the only tool available to send a message to the political establishment.
Back in 2003, after I visited Geneva, I wrote the following for my Rocky Mountain News media column: “Local investigative reporting appears weak. A Swiss television station recently exposed a secret deal between the Geneva police and the Iranian government: The Iranians would not commit terror in Switzerland, while the Geneva police would turn a blind eye to Iranian terror bases in Geneva. In the United States, such a revelation would set off a frenzy of newspapers advancing the story with further investigation about a gigantic local police scandal, but the Geneva papers did little with the story.”
This is just one of many examples of the Swiss elite’s feckless and amoral dealing with the Islamonazis of Tehran. Roger L. Simon has written extensively about the Islamist hate-fest at the UN’s “Durban II” conference earlier this year in Geneva, where “I watched as the Swiss President welcomed the Holocaust-denying-nuclear-bomb-buliding-mega-misogynistic-homosexual-denying-and-now-demonstrator-murdering-religious-psychopath President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
The Swiss government has provoked a backlash from the Swiss people. The decent, pro-freedom Swiss Muslims from places like Albania, who see a minaret as symbolizing nothing more than a Muslim parallel to a church spire, are the innocent victims.