Today the Swiss people have decided in a referendum to ban minarets, an architectural feature found on some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, because of their association with Muslims.
A worrying 57.5% people voted against new minarets being built, with opposition particularly concentrated in the French speaking West. What's even more disturbing is the way that the creators of the motion are clearly barking mad.
"The initiators of the measure, the right-wing ”Erkingen Committee,”... claimed minarets were an attempt to spread radical Islam in Switzerland, said the vote would bar any attempt to introduce elements of Sharia law in Switzerland."
What? I mean... what? People actually voted with these morons? There's no movement to introduce Sharia law in Switzerland and what the hell have minarets got to do with anything? Since when did the shape of a building threaten liberal democracy? They can't all be simpletons can they?
The Swiss Green Party is investigating whether they can challenge this result legally. Before the vote they issued the following statement (apologies for the rough and ready translation where I've strived for meaning rather than literal meaning).
NO to the minaret prohibitionThe irrational fear of Islam as a whole is an extremely poor way of preventing Muslims from hating you. Come to that I've taken the Swiss off my Christmas card list myself.
Switzerland is a liberal and democratic constitutional state. A country, which retains internal cohesion with its linguistic, cultural and religious variety. The freedom of religion is embodied in the Swiss condition.
The referendum, which seeks to create a general prohibition on the building of minarets, shakes the foundations of our constitution. It is discriminating because it wants to forbid Muslims from using one of their religious symbols. It thereby wants to refuse them a right, which the other religious communities have.
The initiative endangers the constitutional state and the internal cohesion of Switzerland. It polarizes opinion and hinders the factual correction of prejudices and wrongly reduces our enemies to Islam.
The freedom of religion may not be abolished. That would be a dishonor for our country and an abuse of direct democracy. Therefore the Greens call on all voters on 29th November to place a clear, convinced no to a deeply un-Swiss project into the ballot box.