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Deplorable result in Swiss referendum

2009/11/30

Yesterday, about 57 % of the Swiss voted in favour of a ban on building more minarets in their country. In my view, the result of the referendum will send a negative signal to everyone working for freedom of religion, inter-religious dialougue and integration. Freedom of religion is just like freedom of expression and freedom of thought a central part of every open society.

As a part of the European Convention of Human Rights and as participating state in the OSSE, Switzerland is part of the most far-reaching system of Human Rights commitment that exists. I assume that the Swiss government will take this into consideration.

There is a obvious risk that the result of the referendum will foment the religious and ethnical antagonism that exists globally, especially the prejudices on Islam and Muslims. That would be deplorable, as Europe should be a voice for tolerance and reconciliation.

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