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IRAN: Outrage, and a warning, over Swiss vote to ban minarets

An East-West clash over a Swiss referendum last week banning the construction of mosque minarets heated up today as Iran's foreign minister warned of unspecified "consequences" if the ban were enforced.

Manouchehr Mottaki spoke on the phone with his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey. Switzerland and Iran generally have good relations. The Swiss serve as Washington's representative in the Iranian capital in the absence of formal relations between America and the Islamic Republic, giving them exalted status in Tehran's diplomatic circles.

But Mottaki had harsh words for Switzerland, saying enforcement of the ban on new minarets was “against the prestige of a country which claims to be an advocate of democracy and human rights" and would "damage Switzerland’s image as a pioneer of respecting human rights among Muslims' public opinion," according to a report by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.

The Swiss ban on minarets, a feature of Islamic mosques, has roiled the Muslim world. The Swiss government has said it would abide by the vote even though the government and parliament had opposed the referendum. 

Iran's population is 90% Shiite Muslim. But it permits construction of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, though some Sunni Muslims have complained they have a tough time building houses of worship in some parts of the country. 

“Values such as tolerance, dialogue and respecting others' religions should never be put to referendum,” Mottaki told his Swiss counterpart. He expressed hope that Bern would soon “take necessary steps and find a constitutional way to prevent imposition of the ban.” 

An Iranian cleric today also condemned the minaret ban. Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamadani, said the move was "at odds with the protection of Muslim citizens' civil rights and will hurt the feelings of Muslims across the world," according to Iran's state television. 

Calmy-Rey told Mottaki her government would "use all its means to support Muslims rights," according to IRNA.

-- Borzou Daragahi in New York

Photo: A minaret stands illuminated over the Khadija mosque in Berlin. Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (192)

1)The Swiss can decide what they want in their own country.
2) In the last 60 years, how many churches have been constructed in the muslim countries? Zero!
3) In the last 60 years, how many mosques have been constructed in Europe? Thousands!
4) Every islamic commentator speaks about "discrimination" but tolerance is a 2-way street.
5) When in Rome, do as the Romans do!
6) Are the muslims in Europe listening?
7) Don't be bamboozled by the premise that the Muslim countries will relax restrictions on infidels. Just read the Koran!!

Wow !! So many white Christian thugs are fighting against Islam without being aware that there are thousands of Churches in Muslim countries, more than 100 million Christians live in Muslim majority countries. As usual these white Christian thugs want to destroy other races, culture by spreading lies and than attacking their countries, destroying them, looting their resources.

"By the way how many Churches have opened in Iran in the last 30 years oh I' ll tell you none"

Get some brain people, Don't make such stupid comments.

It almost seem that my people here have forgotten that might does not make right, and where two wrongs do not make one right. We are the standard of morality. We are Justice and we stand for them and made sacrifices for what is right. Alas, we are not all powerful, so there is only so much we could do. It is wrong that we could only save some but no all, but we are trying to save some.
My fellow American, please remember your first amendment and our policy of separation of church and state. Though, it seem muslim religion is intolerant, and aggressive, we must endure as long as they keep it to a level that does not violate our constitution. We must condemn others for using this as an excuse to limit the rights or segregate certain people. We do it not only for the people but the rights of all, because it is a slippery slope going from there. We are the last and only battlement of liberty in her purest form. Some mentioned confederate flag, or Nazi symbols, we do allow them because of freedom of speech. They were not removed from buildings or places because of they symbolized but because their believers who put it their did not own those buildings or infringed the law in some other way.
We might not agree with what muslim stand for but we must defend their right to say it. Please remember, just becasue they are muslim, does not make them any less human, and if they are citizen, they have full rights as you and I.
Just because others do wrong, does not give you the right to be wrong as well. Thank you.

What a testament to the Los Angeles readership. The majority of you are a bunch of morons. God damn, can you be any more stupid.

Democracy in Europe decided by the Christian Europeans that Islam would not be allowed to entrench against and over shaddow Christian beleifs and values. In the West, the People have a voice unlike the people of Islamic countries like Iran. The Swiss have every right to denounce and reject all symbols that represent an Islamic culture of hatred and death and Dictatorship. Nations of the West are standing up against Islmamic nations like Iran and reject the threat of it's destructive agenda.

If the Swiss wants to ban it, then let them ban it! Iran has nothing to do with the decision. "unspecified "consequences"...? let them try, Iran will be destroyed to the core if they dare... Iran can lick dog a$$.

First, who says nations are always fair toward religions? Start with Islamic countries. China bans religions as they see fit.
Second, there's no danger of more churches and their steeples. European churches are being converted into other venues, including stage for rock concerts.
Third, more mosques are destroyed by Muslims via suicide bombers than churches by same.
Muslims are a bunch of people stupid enough to become Muslims, yet their imams keep telling them they're Allah's chosen people - a plagiarized concept from Judaism - and that they can dominate the world via their high birth rate and terror. That's the crux of the problem: planned domination via population growth and when appropriate, i.e. when they pass a 20-30% of the population, via violence against infidels, banking on inaction of democratic or PC government. There will be fight from the local people when they realize the Islamic silent aggression. It's just a matter of time. The average feeling of posters shows more people are aware of that silent threat.

Ask yourself this one question. When has Islam EVER compromised with western values, western culture or western anything? We keep giving in because of some warped sense of compassion (known as politically correctness) And Islam keeps taking and laughing. Laughing at all the fools who are so afraid to offend. Islam will continue to take and take and will use racism and discrimination as a tool because they know it weakens us. What do you really think will happen with all our nations when Islam finally out numbers everyone else?

Stop feeling guilty. Stop giving in or your children will be giving more than you ever planned. Islam can co-exist with the west but it must adapt to our culture and values not the other way around. Oh, and the answer to my first question is NEVER. Why should they when we are to weak to stand up for ourselves.

We sleep in the same bed with Arabs for their oil.
Thats the real cause for this arrogance you hear today from Iran particularly.
The US, China, Europe, Russia we all get our oil from Iran.
Stop buying oil from them and soon they will be going back to camels and tents...

"The European birth rate is too low to maintain a culture"
France has only 12% of Muslims and the number is not growing anymore.
I assume the rest of Europe is on the same format as France is.
So I dont agree with you.There are only 400 000 Muslims in Switzerland but yes if nothing is done tomorrow this could be 4 000 000.
Thats what this vote is all about.

Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Mecca. The Saudi government uses Sura 9:28 from the Qur'an to support their position. I don't see any non-Muslim religion crying out, Foul! The Swiss have voted and I say, "Democracy at work"

The Swiss ban refers only to minarets NOT masjds. Try constructing a church in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan and see what happens.

The European birth rate is too low to maintain a culture. The high birth rate and sheer numbers of immigrants from Islamic countries all point to Western Europe becoming a united Islamic Republic within 30-50 years. Further, the Russian Army is forcast to be, in the very near future, 40% Muslim. Do the math. Why fight what is inevitable.

I praised Swiss people for a having voiced democratically their lack of interest for this malevolent religion.Islam today is only synonym of terrorists, bombs, murder and blood shed and oil.
Iran government is the living proof of a criminal Islam.It sleeps in the same bed filled with money they get from their oil and should enjoy it while it still can .
I hail the Swiss people for their integrity...... bravo......

I think sooner or later, the new bunker busters will be visiting these Extremists' front and back doors....

minaret nothing time has come any body who blive in one GOD to be halased but every thing is in its way to frash out the lies of none moslems

Something have to be done, Middle East had been in never ending wars since who know when??? I only hope it will not ultimately spill over!!!

Iran's attitudes towards non-Muslims is beneath contempt; they have the death penalty for atheism; as the Swiss vote was going on, Iran was threatening an atheist with death. Iran also has restrictions on Christians and other religions. Iran's holocaust denial is also offensive.

The Swiss government should listen to its people and break off ties with Iran entirely. Of course, Swiss businesses like a cozy relationship between Switzerland and repressive regimes--it's good for business.

As for minarets themselves, they are not a religious symbols or a part of religious practice; many mosques don't have them. They are a symbol of Islam's political dominance over a society. One of the first things Muslim invaders did when conquering formerly Christian lands is to place minarets on churches. It is entirely appropriate, and not in conflict with the free exercise of religion, for the Swiss to reject the construction of new minarets.

Arabic is going to become the primary language and Chinese will be the dominate language of the Pacific! Sad but unavoidable!!!

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