The people of Switzerland have voted to ban the construction of minarets–towers built over mosques from which daily calls to prayer traditionally emenate–in a decision that has drawn strong reactions from political and religious leaders across Europe.
In a Sunday referendum, 57.5% of Swiss voters, and 22 out of 26 cantons (provinces) supported the ban on the Islamic towers, despite official opposition from the Swiss government. Leaders of the Swiss People’s Party, which put forth the measure, called the construction of minarets a sign of “Islamisation.”
Muslim groups were joined by the Vatican in condemning the vote as a sign of religious intolerance, while a number of nationalist parties throughout Europe have embraced it as a stance against the erosion of Western values.
Though the government has said it will enforce the ban, Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf suggested it could be overturned by the European Court of Human Rights, over which Switzerland currently presides, should it be determined to run afoul of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Daniel Pipes comments on the ban here.