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MUSLIM WORLD: Swiss businessman defiantly builds minaret to protest ban


In a country where failing to use official, region-specific trash bags can incur a hefty fine, defying a architectural ban on minarets is practically an act of terrorism. 

But that didn't stop Swiss businessman Guillaume Morand, who protested last month's constitutional amendment banning minarets by building one atop the chimney of his office in the city of Lausanne.

Morand, who owns a chain of shoe stores, told the AFP news agency that the ban is shameful, and blamed liberal parties for failing to counter what he described as right-wing scare tactics. The Swiss People's Party, which spearheaded the initiative to ban minarets on mosques, released an aggressive campaign including posters of women in face-covering burkas and minarets shaped like rockets.

The ban was all the more scandalous, Morand said, given that Switzerland encourages Arabs to "visit the country and to spend their money here."

Morand joins prominent Jewish leaders and the Vatican in condemning the referendum last month, when 53% of Swiss voters went to the polls to decide whether to outlaw the construction of any more minarets, although only four mosques in Switzerland have them. The amendment passed with 57% of the votes.

The Independent of London reported Monday that a group of prominent Swiss intellectuals is already preparing an initiative to overturn the ban, although many have speculated the new amendment will be struck down anyway by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Vatican backed a statement by the Swiss Bishops' Conference calling the decision "a great challenge on the path of integration in dialogue and mutual respect."

Moreover, the statement said, the vote "will not help the Christians oppressed and persecuted in Islamic countries, but will weaken the credibility of their commitment in these countries."

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that European Jews have also come out strongly against the ban, pointing out that in the past, bans and regulations were imposed on synagogues as well.

"Precisely because the Jewish community has firsthand experience of discrimination, it is committed to active opposition to discrimination and to action in favor of religious freedom and peaceful relations between the religions," two Swiss Jewish groups declared in a statement.

Swiss Jewry, the statement said, "takes seriously the fears of the population that extremist ideas could be disseminated in Switzerland. But banning minarets is no solution -- it only creates in Muslims in Switzerland a sense of alienation and discrimination."

The American Anti-Defamation League also released a statement condemning the ban as a "populist political campaign of religious intolerance."

"This is not the first time a Swiss popular vote has been used to promote religious intolerance," the statement read. 

"A century ago, a Swiss referendum banned Jewish ritual slaughter in an attempt to drive out its Jewish population," it said. "We share the ... concern that those who initiated the anti-minaret campaign could try to further erode religious freedom through similar means."

The executive director of the American Jewish Committee said the group stands "firmly against these rabble-rousing politics in the name of pluralism and democracy.”

-- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Swiss businessman Guillaume Morand erected a minaret atop the chimney of his office building to protest the government's ban. Credit: AFP

Comments () | Archives (19)

Why should Switzerland or many Christian country allow Muslims to have any more rights than have a mosque as long as churches are being burnt down Muslim countries like Malaysia!

Switzerland belongs to its people and if the choose to ban Minarets its their right!

Wake up... this 'businessman' has a shoe store. He just wanted to draw some attention in order to sell more shoes. It's as simple as that.

It's too bad that that Swiss businessman is an Islam history ignoramuses, else he'd realize that the minaret is a historical symbol of superiority, usually erected after Muslim jihadists spread the territory ruled by horrible Sharia by force, killing and enslaving all who resist. They're definitely not needed just to pray.

Don't be an Islam history ignoramus, after Ft. Hood it's getting dangerous to be. Learn the key facts of the rise, spread and core beliefs of Islam fast accurate and free with the Historyscoper, just click the url to get started.

"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." - Thomas Jefferson

Yeah , but that's a wussy-looking little minaret if I've ever seen one..

LOL @ beachrat, how about crazy liberals who are so full of hate at people like Beck and Savage Nation just because they're sounding the alarm at the throat slashers that want to kill infidels like you and me.

Even Obama who one of his campain pledges was to end the war was finally hit with the reality as president that the world needs to recognize evil, and said it while recieving the Nobel Peace prize. You need to learn from history beachrat and stop showing liberal compassion toward a group of people that want to convert the west.


As the levee cannot stop the movement of the water of a hurricane, laws that inhibit the worship of God cannot stop the worship of the Creator. Human beings have written in their souls the knowledge of their Creator and will continue to look to their Creator regardless of laws to the contrary.

May God grant us peace and the wisdom to learn that we are all together on this big ball of mud and we must learn to live with each other and work together to survive.



Islam is not just another religion, it is a doctrine demanding the total subjugation of the free will of the individual. This is in absolute contrast to the Western idea of enlightenment. These two opposites will never, ever mix. All they can do is repel each other. Islam is humanity's worst nightmare in that it robs a person of the chance to find destiny out of own free will. Without free will there is no point being here on earth other than being vegetation or less. I'm not claiming that the free West is paradise, but the premises in the free West are a thousand times better for the advancement of humanity than they would be under Islamic rule.
It is not the minarets that need banning, it is the totalitarian doctrine that presents itself as a religion that needs to get banned or at least severely restricted to prevent people from getting hurt.

What has Saudi Arabia to do with anything? Most of the Muslims residing in Switzerland are not from Saudi Arabia, they are from Bosnia, Albania and Turkey - where there are no restrictions on churches. Please stop using the culture of Saudi Arabia to generalize all Muslims everywhere. 4 mosques with minarets in a country of 7.7 million people is being "overtaken by a foreign culture"?

Good for him! We should like to write him and offer him support. We should support resistance to this attack on religious freedom in Europe!

Let's see more protest minarets in Switzerland!


Because the Swiss are supposed to have democratic ideals, while the Saudis have Saudi and totalitarian ideals. Why do you compare yourselves with those who are worse, do you want to be like them? Secondly, do not clump all other Arabs and Muslims in with Saudi Arabia, especially because most of them are not even Saudi. In other 'Muslim' countries it is allowed to build churches and synagogues. In Islamic Law, shari'ah, it is even permissible to build churches and synagogues. Even the second caliph of Islam helped build a church with his own two hands in Jerusalem. The Saudis have their own rules and we should not try to be like them. I see no difference between those Saudis and the intolerant people in the Swiss government.

Thank you Mr. Morand for standing up to the right wing crazies in your country. These people seem to be ralated to our own local breed of crazies, i.e; glenn beck, sarah palin, teabaggers , and so on.

The muslims should be able to build minarets and mosques in Switzerland and throughout Europe as soon as churches and synagogues can be built without restriction in Saudi Arabia. I lived there and this would not be tolerated. Why shouldn't the Swiss say it is not tolerable to be overtaken by a foreign culture?

Ignorance is bliss I guess. Yes Christians have had some very un-Christian moments in history. There have been Christian leaders that thought forcing Jews and Muslims to Christianity was what "God" wanted them to do. Reference Spainish Inquistion. Roman Christian Emperor thinking Christians should take bake Jeruslim from the Muslims. Popes thinking the same thing. Reference the First and Second Crusade. Finally we still have a group of people that attempt to use their "Christian Beliefs" as a means of violance against other religions and races.Reference White Supremist groups. However, Christians for the most part these day would rather have peace among all instead of hate mongoring that goes on with the radicals of any religion.

Finally the Swiss Law is just wrong to put it simply. It does not protect the people of Switzerland more to the point it could make Switzerland a bigger target which for a Country that remained Neutral during World War II is a little ironic. As has been said a few times by many diffent people "Can't we all just get along?"

Xtians have used every form of force imaginable from seemingly innocuous laws proscribing Xtian beliefs to wholesale slaughter of entire non-Xtian civilizations for about what 1400 years or so on every continent of the world except Antarctica and that is only because no one has translated the new testament into penguin yet.

Xtians in other words do not assimilate either. If you are going to go full out I would say that all religions but especially the Abhrahamic ones can be dangerous to a thriving pluralistic society.

Turkey prepares to join EU in a building confiscated from the Orthodox

Unbelievable but true: the headquarters of the Secretariat for the entry of Turkey into the European Union is a building confiscated from the Orthodox Christian community in the 90s. The building is located in Istanbul, in the well-known area of Ortakoy, under the first bridge over the Bosphorus.

matthew joesph: You're completely right. The only thing worse is Christianity, which has conquered entire continents with land masses several times that of Europe and completely wiped out indigenous cultures and populations. It's all because the dumb Native Americans didn't "stand their ground," huh?

Bravo M. Morand! While there are people like M. Morand around we will not have to hide our menorahs, crucifixes, ankhs and crescents against the ignorance of the crowd.

Yes, we must be vigilant. The current crop of prominent terrorists are Muslim, but do not forget the Crusaders, or the race based purges of Hitler from Christian Austria.

Evil deeds have a way of leaping faiths and ethnicities without missing a beat.

That is the problem with islam they do not assimilate it takes over and forces there Ideals and morals upon soceity. In an effort to take over. I applaud the people of switzerland they can see the big picture of what is happening in Europe. Stay your ground.


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