Dutch MPs reject motion to ban minarets

Following the Swiss referendum to ban minarets, a motion in the Dutch parliament called for more “discretion” over the placement of visible satellite dishes, the visibility of urban mosques, and the sound of calls to prayer. The motion was subsequently rejected by most MPs.

The motion was initially tabled by the fundamentalist Christian SGP party, which holds two seats in parliament. It was supported by the Freedom party (PVV) and Rita Verdonk of the VVD. Proponents said the motion would address a feeling of “alienation and unease” among native Dutch people.

The majority of parliamentarians rejected the motion, as well as expressing their doubts over the Swiss minaret ban. Foreign minister Maxine Verhagen suggested that the ban probably conflicts with the right to freedom of religion and therefore breaches international treaties on human rights. Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst described the Swiss referendum outcome as “very regrettable”.