Muslim group launches popular action to reverse Swiss minaret ban

  • News Code : 219317
  • Source : W.B
A Swiss Islamic group said on Monday it was launching a popular initiative to reverse a ban on building new minarets in the Alpine state.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A Swiss Islamic group said on Monday it was launching a popular initiative to reverse a ban on building new minarets in the Alpine state, saying voters would decide differently if the matter came up for referendum again.

Last year, 57.5 percent of Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets, drawing international condemnation.

The plan to reverse the minaret ban comes a day after a majority of Swiss voted to back expulsion of migrants convicted of "serious crimes", the latest sign of growing hostility to foreigners.

The text of the proposed initiative will state that the ban on building minarets is to be stricken from the constitution, the Central Islamic Council of Switzerland said.

"Today we can clearly say that accepting the ban has brought neither the voters nor this country any profit," said Nicolas Blancho, president of the group. "This (new referendum) will also show that we respect democracy and stick to local law."

The Berne-based Council says it has 1,700 members. About 350,000 Muslims live in Switzerland, which has a population of 7.7 million.

When asked why voters would decide differently should the question of minarets come up again for referendum, Oscar Bergamin, an advisor to the group, answered:

"People today are much better able to differentiate. They're better informed and have time to become still better informed in coming years," he said.

Both the expulsion and the minarets initiative were put forward by the far-right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP).

The proposed text will be presented to the federal chancellery in January, the group said.

The initiators will then have 18 months to collect 100,000 valid signatures. Should they succeed in doing so the matter can then come up for national referendum.

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