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Swiss Government Embarrassed by Voters’ Ban on Minarets

The Swiss tradition of neutrality and freedom of religion took a hit on Sunday when voters overwhelmingly disagreed with the government and supported legislation that bans construction of new minarets [towers attached to mosques from which calls to prayer emanate]. The bill had been rejected by both the cabinet and the parliament. The bill does not ban mosques, nor does it in any way interfere with the ability of Muslims to worship. Nevertheless, some attacked the measure for violating the Swiss constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion. The calls to prayer are already forbidden. 300,000 Muslims live in Switzerland, a nation of 7 million.