Minaret ban in Switzerland?

Projects to build minarets in several communities in German-speaking Switzerland have come up against strong opposition from local residents.

On Monday the Zurich cantonal parliament said it would look into banning the construction of minarets across the canton. The decision came after parliament accepted an initiative from the rightwing Swiss People’s Party calling for the canton’s planning laws to be altered to forbid minarets.

The move has been condemned by centre-left and centre-right parties as well as by a leading Muslim organisation in the canton.

The Swiss Federal Commission against Racism last week called for more tolerance towards Muslims. It called on local authorities to show greater flexibility over building and zoning restrictions to allow the construction of religious buildings and to “reduce populist pressures”.

Swissinfo, 5 September 2006