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Swiss respond to minaret ban complaints

Switzerland has recommended the European Court of Human Rights rule as inadmissible two complaints lodged over the country’s minaret ban.

This content was published on September 15, 2010 - 21:50
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The Federal Justice Office appeared before the court on Wednesday to respond to questions on last year’s nationwide minaret ban. Six complaints in total on the issue are being heard by the court.

In particular the questions focused on plaintiffs’ statements that they were being victimised and that it potentially infringed on peoples’ right to freedom of religion.

The two complaints in question were lodged by a group of four Muslim organisations in Switzerland and another by the former spokesman of the Geneva mosque.

In its response published on the internet, the Federal Justice Office said no person could be considered to be a victim, as no individual had been refused permission to build a minaret. It noted that there were no grounds for the accusation that the ban violates religious freedom.

Switzerland is expected to answer questions on the remaining four cases in the coming weeks and months, a court spokesman told the Swiss News Agency.

In November 2009, 57 per cent of Swiss voters backed a ban on building new minarets. The proposal on banning minaret construction was championed by rightwing and ultra-conservative groups. The government and most political parties as well as churches and the business community came out strongly against it.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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