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CSM: Swiss Minaret Ban - Can Europe Learn to Trust Its Muslim Citizens?

Author: Tariq Ramadan
November 30, 2009

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The Swiss-born Tariq Ramadan writes that the vote to ban minarets in Switzerland is another example of Europe's "lack of trust in their new Muslim citizens."

It wasn't meant to go this way. For months we were told that the efforts to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland were doomed.

The polls suggested that around 34 percent of the Swiss population would vote for this shocking initiative. On Nov. 27, in a meeting organized in Lausanne, Switzerland, more than 800 students, professors, and citizens were convinced that the referendum would see the motion rejected, and so were focused instead on how to turn this silly initiative into a more positive future.

That confidence was shattered today, as 57 percent of the Swiss population did as the Union Démocratique du Centre (UDC) had urged them and approved a ban of the minarets - a worrying sign that this populist party may be closest to the people's fears and expectations.

For the first time since 1893 an initiative that singles out one community, with a clear discriminatory essence, has been approved in Switzerland.

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