Lawyers demonstrate against Swiss minaret ban

Crowds of lawyers protested yesterday outside the Lawyers Syndicate against the Swiss referendum that passed last week banning the building of minarets in Switzerland. They decried the rising tide of "religious and racial discrimination" aimed against Muslims in the West in general and in Europe in particular.

During the protest organized by the Political Affairs Committee, the demonstrators stressed that Islam is a religion of tolerance, not terrorism, and described minarets as "minarets of peace and love."

Throughout the protest they sang songs glorifying minarets and the call to prayer and labeled the Swiss ban as "fanatical" and an "infringement."

Protesters constructed model minarets at the entrance of the syndicate building and argued they are lofty symbols of righteousness, tolerance and peace.

Meanwhile, the New York Times translated an editorial from German on Friday, written by Swiss journalist Peter Stamm. Throughout the column, Stamm argued that Switzerland was "alarmingly intolerant" and predicted that the constitutionality of the decision will be challenged as it may violate the European Convention on Human Rights. However, he argued, the government proceeded with the referendum, despite the fact that there are only four minarets throughout the entire country.

Stamm further noted that most mosques are located in industrial zones and are generally unnoticed. This points to what may be a larger problem, he argues, "Islamic immigrants don’t live with us but beside us, just as French, German, Italian and Romansch-speaking Swiss live alongside each other without a great deal of animosity – or interaction."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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