Partial results from the poll which closed at 1100 GMT indicated that the German-speaking canton of Lucerne accepted the ban, while French-speaking cantons Geneva and Vaud voted against....What is it about minarets specifically?
There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.The BBC could be clearer here. Is a Muslim place of worship "unofficial" if it lacks a minaret? Regulation of buildings can be neutral toward religion, and one can imagine a government regulation that happens to exclude the construction of minarets. But this is a case of targeting religion. (A ban like this in the United States would violate both the Free Exercise and the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.)
Supporters of a ban claim that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.So it is not only discrimination against religion, it is a restriction of the sort of speech that is most valued in a democracy — criticism of the government. This argument, an attempt to excuse discrimination against religion, makes the ban worse, not better.
But others say...One hardly needs to hear from the other side. The supporters make the argument against themselves.
... the referendum campaign has incited hatred. On Thursday the Geneva mosque was vandalised for the third time during the campaign....
The president of Zurich's Association of Muslim Organisations, Tamir Hadjipolu, told the BBC that if the ban was implemented, Switzerland's Muslim community would live in fear.Now, this is the situation without the ban, so it's not obvious whether actually having the ban would make things worse or better. If the campaign for the ban is the problem, then Hadjipolu too is critical of free speech. Ironically, both the supporters and the opponents of the ban are afraid of free speech.
"This will cause major problems because during this campaign in the last two weeks different mosques were attacked, which we never experienced in 40 years in Switzerland.
"So with the campaign... the Islamaphobia has increased very intensively."
ADDED: Swiss feminists lead the fight against minarets, which they portray as "'male power symbols' and reminders of Islam’s oppression of women."
AND: Final results:
In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined the country’s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and opposed by the government.
The referendum, which passed with a clear majority of 57.5 percent of the voters and in 22 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, was a victory for the right. The vote against was 42.5 percent. Because the ban gained a majority of votes and passed in a majority of the cantons, it will be added to the Constitution.