(Thumbnail image: Elan)


“In the surprising results of a referendum, more than 57 percent of Swiss voters have approved a constitutional ban on minarets, the tall towers built above many mosques. Muslim groups are calling the vote anti-Islamic.  It’s the latest in a series of legal challenges across Europe.”

Supporters of the Swiss referendum to ban minarets say the towers are signs of political threat to their country. The media are debating the potential outcome of the ban.

We’re looking at multiple perspectives on the Swiss referendum from The Times of London, France 24, the BBC, Voice of America, and The Wall Street Journal.

The Times of London says the referendum is not tolerant and hurts Switzerland’s reputation in the world.

“Switzerland’s cosmopolitan and sophisticated electorate voted yesterday to inflame tensions and violate religious liberty…The least of the objections to this destructive and pernicious decision is that it has embarrassed the Swiss Government and will provoke fierce diplomatic opposition.”

The BBC reports that there are those who believe the ban is a pre-emptive strike against an Islamic threat that doesn’t exist in Switzerland.

“There is no history in Switzerland of Islamic extremism.  Banning minarets, Swiss Muslims believe, is misguided and a violation of their rights.”

A blogger on Voice of America says that other European countries are considering a similar referendum.

“In the Netherlands, anti-immigration politicians are calling for a similar referendum.  Right wing leaders in Austria and France say the vote affirms the Swiss national identity.”

A France 24 News reporter says voting "yes" for the referendum means a vote against the Swiss government.

“The result is a kick in the teeth to the Swiss government. It had never wanted the referendum in the first place, calling it unconstitutional"

A Wall Street Journal reporter has the broader perspective of how the referendum could cause international problems. She says because Swiss companies conduct business in Muslim countries, the ban could result in economic consequences.

“A number of Swiss companies, such as engineering group ABB Ltd. and food maker Nestle SA, have large interests in Muslim countries. For instance, food maker Nestle SA has about 50 factories in the Muslim world and is the world's largest producer of halal food, or food permissible under Islamic law."

So what do you think? How will the Swiss referendum to ban minarets affect Switzerland’s economy? How could the ban create similar legal challenges if adopted in other European countries?

Writer: Sarah Rappaport

Producer: Zach Wade

Swiss Move to Ban Minarets

by Nathan Giannini
0
Transcript
Dec 3, 2009

Swiss Move to Ban Minarets

(Thumbnail image: Elan)


“In the surprising results of a referendum, more than 57 percent of Swiss voters have approved a constitutional ban on minarets, the tall towers built above many mosques. Muslim groups are calling the vote anti-Islamic.  It’s the latest in a series of legal challenges across Europe.”

Supporters of the Swiss referendum to ban minarets say the towers are signs of political threat to their country. The media are debating the potential outcome of the ban.

We’re looking at multiple perspectives on the Swiss referendum from The Times of London, France 24, the BBC, Voice of America, and The Wall Street Journal.

The Times of London says the referendum is not tolerant and hurts Switzerland’s reputation in the world.

“Switzerland’s cosmopolitan and sophisticated electorate voted yesterday to inflame tensions and violate religious liberty…The least of the objections to this destructive and pernicious decision is that it has embarrassed the Swiss Government and will provoke fierce diplomatic opposition.”

The BBC reports that there are those who believe the ban is a pre-emptive strike against an Islamic threat that doesn’t exist in Switzerland.

“There is no history in Switzerland of Islamic extremism.  Banning minarets, Swiss Muslims believe, is misguided and a violation of their rights.”

A blogger on Voice of America says that other European countries are considering a similar referendum.

“In the Netherlands, anti-immigration politicians are calling for a similar referendum.  Right wing leaders in Austria and France say the vote affirms the Swiss national identity.”

A France 24 News reporter says voting "yes" for the referendum means a vote against the Swiss government.

“The result is a kick in the teeth to the Swiss government. It had never wanted the referendum in the first place, calling it unconstitutional"

A Wall Street Journal reporter has the broader perspective of how the referendum could cause international problems. She says because Swiss companies conduct business in Muslim countries, the ban could result in economic consequences.

“A number of Swiss companies, such as engineering group ABB Ltd. and food maker Nestle SA, have large interests in Muslim countries. For instance, food maker Nestle SA has about 50 factories in the Muslim world and is the world's largest producer of halal food, or food permissible under Islamic law."

So what do you think? How will the Swiss referendum to ban minarets affect Switzerland’s economy? How could the ban create similar legal challenges if adopted in other European countries?

Writer: Sarah Rappaport

Producer: Zach Wade

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