Minaret demonstration ends peacefully

Around 700 Muslims on Saturday held a peaceful demonstration in Switzerland’s capital to protest the result of a vote banning the construction of new minarets. Speakers at the afternoon rally outside the parliament in Bern denounced the ban, approved in a referendum two weeks ago, as a “smear campaign”. The protest was not supported by the country’s main Muslim organizations.

“We have shown exactly what we wanted to,” said Nicolas Blancho, an organizer.

Blancho said he believed the 57.5 percent of people who voted to ban minarets, the spires attached to mosques, did not hate Islam but were frightened by propaganda.

He said that no Muslims in Switzerland had ever demanded the introduction of shari’a law. The Swiss right had made radical Islam and shari’a law one of the central issues in the campaign to ban minarets.