Swiss Projected to Approve Minaret Ban
Nationalist measure reflects rising anti-Muslim sentiment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 29, 2009 8:38 AM CST
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2009 file photo a man passes by a poster of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) which shows a woman wearing a burqa against a background of a Swiss flag upon which several...   (Salvatore Di Nolfi)
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(Newser) – Swiss voters approved a move to ban the construction of minarets in a vote today on a right-wing initiative that labeled the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam, early projections showed. The Swiss looked to have swung from only 37% supporting the proposal a week ago to 59% in actual voting. The move by the nationalist People's Party, known for controversial anti-immigrant campaigns, is part of a broader European backlash against a growing Muslim population.

If the anti-Islam atmosphere continues, said one official at a Muslim federation, "Muslims indeed will not feel safe anymore." The four minarets already attached to mosques in the country are not affected by the initiative. Muslims, many of which are refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, make up about 6% of Switzerland's 7.5 million people. Fewer than 13% practice their religion, the government says.