Swiss Bishops Oppose Minaret Ban

The Swiss Catholic bishops’ conference is opposing a proposal to curb the influence of Islam in Switzerland by banning the production of minarets. A statement by the bishops said the ban of minarets, the high, slender towers attached to mosques, would hinder interreligious dialogue. “As bishops and Swiss citizens, we are pleased that there are no longer any special articles relating to religion in the constitution and we wish that no new ones should be introduced," the bishops said, noting that their opposition "is based on our Christian values and the democratic principles in our country." The bishops also noted that Swiss building codes already regulate the construction of minarets. The ban was proposed by the Swiss People's Party, the largest party in the Swiss parliament. Supporters of the initiative see minarets as political symbols and signs of an increasing Islamic presence in Switzerland. The proposal will be put to a nationwide referendum on Nov. 29.

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