“[The ban] raises concerns as to whether fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes.” , Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary-general of Council of Europe.
Switzerland is facing international criticism and charges of intolerance following a shock referendum vote backing a constitutional ban on the construction of new minarets.
The Vatican joined the expressions of dismay after Sunday’s vote saying that it oppressed religious freedom, as the Swiss government moved to assure Muslims it was not a rejection of their religion.
The imam of Switzerland’s biggest mosque, in Geneva, meanwhile called on the Muslim world to “respect, without accepting” the outcome and to avoid cutting off ties with Switzerland.
Youssef Ibram in an interview with AFP sharply criticised Swiss authorities for not intervening more forcefully in defence of religious freedom before the referendum got off the ground.
Muslims account for about five per cent of Switzerland’s population of 7.5 million people, and form the third-largest religious group after the dominant Roman Catholic and Protestant communities.
Freedom of worship is one of the cornerstones of Switzerland’s founding constitution.
Religious leaders in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, condemned the vote as a manifestation of religious “hatred” but urged a restrained response. [more]
Churches With Steeples Abound in Muslim World
Compiled by Sami Zaatari
A list of Churches in the Muslim world:
http://www.oikoumene.org/po/member-ch… – Morocco
http://across.co.nz/PakistanChurches…. – Pakistan
Amazing: Swiss Banks Eager To Attract Muslim Investors
Islamic Banking is well on it’s way to becoming the world’s fastest growing financial sector.
The Islamic banking sector is now thought to be worth up to 800 billion dollars and it’s growing by around 20 percent each year on the back of soaring oil prices.
While many Swiss banks offer products that are Sharia compliant — they are not creating the financial packages being demanded by their clients.
Britain has been at the forefront of breaking down barriers for Islamic banking. It is now ahead of Switzerland in the funds that it handles.
But as Alan Fisher reports, the rest of the world’s banking industry is only just waking up to its potential.