Shura Council: Swiss minaret ban ‘racist, provocative’

The foreign affairs and national security committee of Egypt’s consultative Shura Council issued a statement Monday condemning the Swiss ban on the construction of Islamic minarets–recently approved in a national referendum–as "racist and provocative."

"The ban shocked more than 1.7 billion Muslims around the world," said council speaker Safwat el-Sherif, calling on Swiss civil society to overturn the decision. "It clearly violates the principles of international law and the freedom of religious practice."

"We don’t like to see the Swiss people following extremist political trends," he added. "We would like to see them abide by their national constitution, which guarantees democracy, equality and freedom."

El-Sherif went on to urge the Muslim world to "end its internal conflicts and unite in the face of such unjust campaigns against it, which are led by right-wing extremists–starting with the ongoing attacks [by Israel] on the sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem."

The statement also called on the European Parliament, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union to register their opposition to the ban. Moreover, it urged the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Cairo-based Arab League, along with Arab and Islamic human rights organizations, to seek legal redress at the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Minister Mufid Shehab said that Egypt’s ambassador to Switzerland had met with the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, the Mufti and the Awqaf Minister, telling them that the Swiss government itself was opposed to the ban as it doesn’t reflect the wishes of the majority of the Swiss public.

Shehab added that the government was currently looking into the most effective means of addressing the issue on an international level, especially given that Muslims in Switzerland have never been involved in extremist activity or violations of Swiss law.

Translated from the Arabic edition.  

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