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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Switzerland: Swiss minaret ban reaches European Court of Human Rights

A recent referendum in Switzerland placed a ban on minaret construction in the country. Now, a Muslim man living in Switzerland has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
Algerian-born Hafid Ouardidi lodged the complaint with the human rights court in Strausbourg, saying the referendum violates the right to religious freedom. Ouardidi is a former spokesman at the Geneva Mosque.

The referendum passed in Switzerland after 57.5 percent of the country's citizens approved the measure in a November 29 vote. The Swiss national government urged its citizens to vote against the measure, which was supported by a campaign from the right-wing Swiss People's Party. The party opposed the "Islamisation of Switzerland."

One of Ouardidi's lawyers, Pierre de Preux, said that the Swiss government and all members of the European Council had been informed of the complaint.

"We will have both the plaintiff Hafid Ouardiri and the defendant, [the Swiss government], saying the same thing," de Preux told Reuters news agency. "The court is still free to decide whatever it wants, but it sure is going to help the request."

The European Court of Human Rights must still decide if it will accept Ouardidi's complaint.,,5019985,00.html


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