Swiss Groups Fear Backlash over Minaret Ban

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WASHINGTON -- In what may be a referendum against the quickly growing influence of Islam, Europeans in seven nations are protesting new mosques being constructed in their countries.

Swiss voters in particular have poked the whole political correctness movement in the eye, with 57 percent of them voting to ban the building of any new minarets in Switzerland.

Few of Europe's intelligentsia thought the ban could pass, but they underestimated the fear or anger over Islamic radicalism spreading across Europe.

Still, some Swiss say they're ashamed of their countrymen for passing such a blatantly anti-Islamic measure.

One woman expressed disappointment over the legislation saying she's afraid of the consequences.

Indeed, some business groups complained this vote could damage relations with Muslim countries and their wealthy investors who've long enjoyed traveling to Switzerland to bank, shop and party there.

Saying his people are frightened, one Islamic leader in Zurich said if the anti-Islamic hate increases, then the Muslims indeed will not feel safe anymore.

The ban will not affect the four mosques that already exist in Switzerland. They can keep their minarets.

Those who sponsored the ban say minarets are symbols of rising Islamic political power that could one day turn Switzerland into a Muslim nation.

They quoted the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who once called "the minarets our bayonets."

One of the ban's major backers said minarets symbolize forced marriages and things like cemeteries separating the pure and impure. He added Switzerland doesn't want such Islamic practices, so there's no room for minarets.

One Swiss voter said Christians wouldn't be allowed to build their steeples in the Islamic world, and that's the reason the Swiss won't have the excesses of Islam here.

There's a good chance, though, the Swiss Supreme Court will throw out the ban. The United Nations is already warning Switzerland the ban violates international law.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.