Swiss Parliament Rejects Minaret Ban

The Swiss Senate overwhelmingly rejected on Friday, June 5, a proposal by right-wing parties for banning minarets in the central European country. “It is appalling to have a discussion in Switzerland about a minaret ban for ideological motives,” Radical Party Senator Dick Marty said, Swissinfo reported. By a 36-3 vote, the Senate rejected an initiative put forward by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) for referendum to ban minarets in Switzerland. “Certain values are simply not negotiable,” said Senator Marty. The move came two days after the House of Representatives rejected the right-wing proposal. The Swiss government has already come out against the far-right plan, branding it unconstitutional and discriminatory. The SVP and a small ultra-conservative Christian party launched a campaign last year to have the building of minarets banned in Switzerland. The far-right parties claim that a minaret is not necessary for worship but is rather a symbol of Islamic law which is incompatible with Switzerland’s legal system. The move has shocked Switzerland’s 350,000 Muslims, many of whom have been campaigning for decades for more recognition for their faith. Islam is the second religion in the country after Christianity; however Muslims are often the object of animosity. Mosques in Switzerland tend to be confined to disused warehouses and factories.