When Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a ban on construction of minarets in a referendum on November 29, 2009, they surprised some pollsters and disappointed many European leaders -- including those of their own government -- who opposed the ban.
Babacar Ba, the Geneva ambassador of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said he was surprised and disappointed by the vote.
On the other hand, far-right politicians in several countries were gleeful over the results, and publicly wished for similar bans. "It's a signal that Muslims have to adapt to our way of life, and not the other way around," said Filip Dewinter, a member of the Vlaams Belang Party in Belgium. Dewinter said he plans to pave the way for a minaret ban in Belgium soon.
Switzerland is a member of the European Convention on Human Rights, which will probably be the basis for legal challenges to the Swiss ban of minarets, according to the New York Times news blog.
What do you think of Swiss voters banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland? Are they opposed to minarets because they detract from the beauty of the country? Or are they opposed to minarets because of their intolerance of Islam? Your comments on this issue are encouraged....