A Swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets at Muslim houses of worship sent ripples of surprise and dismay across Europe and Islamic countries at the end of November, even as opponents vowed to challenge the results.
“We are really sad—for ourselves and for Switzerland’s place in the world,” said Geneva Muslim leader Hafid Ourardiri, after 57.5 percent of Swiss voted in favor of the ban. “This is not good for our country—and Switzerland is our country.”
An estimated 400,000 Muslims call Switzerland home. Ourardiri, who heads the Muslim Council of Interknowing, a nonprofit aimed at promoting interfaith ties, said critics of the measure would file an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.