Swiss Group Fights Against Islam's Minarets

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2009 7:24 AM CDT
Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims, and mosques have been built in some main cities without much objection.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
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(Newser) – A debate on freedom of religion featuring ultra-nationalist zealots is playing out in the most unlikely of places: a sleepy hamlet in Switzerland. A group is trying to block the construction of a 30-foot tall minaret on a mosque in Langenthal (pop. 14,000) because it's a symbol of Islam's "desire for power," the Independent reports.

An anti-foreigner political party is leading the charge and wants to make an example of the town ahead of a national referendum on the issue it forced onto the ballot in November. "There may be different laws governing this kind of thing in certain part of Paris or Berlin, but we don't want them in Switzerland," says a campaign leader.