Swiss Govt unhappy with Minaret Referendum
Translation of a Press Release from the office Dr. Al-Tamim: Dec. 8 2009. Sheikh Dr. Tayseer Rajab Al-Tamimi, Chief Justice of the Islamic Courts in Palestine, and the President of the Islamic-Christian committee to support Jerusalem and the Holy Sites, received the Swiss Ambassador to the Palestinian National Authority, Mr. Roland Steininger, in the office of the Sheikh in Ramallah.
During the meeting, Dr. Al-Tamimi discussed the referendum in Switzerland on banning the construction of minarets, and the constant incitement by the Swiss right-wing “People’s Party”, a radical parliamentary majority that has launched further initiatives and campaigns against what they call “the spread of Islam in Switzerland,” in which they listed new initiatives against Muslims and Islam. Among the discussed initiatives, banning of Muslim women from wearing the Hijab, headscarves and long dresses in public places, as well as preventing Muslims from building their own cemeteries.
The Chief of the Islamic Judges stated that the religious values and principles, legitimate human rights, and the respect for other religions should not be subject to referendums. He stated that the incitement against Islam and Muslims, the ban on the constructing minarets, and the announcements of other extreme-rights parties in Europe about their intentions to launch similar initiatives, is seen as a serious signal of the decline of religious freedom in Europe, especially Switzerland, which is until now seen as a place of freedom and religious tolerance.
Dr. Al-Tamimi stated that the prohibition of the construction of minarets in Switzerland is incompatible with the principles of all the religions laws, and it is a clear violation of the Universal Declaration Human Rights and the international conventions on cultural diversity, as well as the International Initiative for the Alliance of Civilizations.
Sheikh Al-Tamimi commended the important role played by Switzerland, and it’s impartiality and respect for human rights, expressing his hope that the Swiss Government will take constitutional procedures to prevent the implementation of the embargo against minarets, and to stop the campaign of incitement against Islam and Muslims in that country.
Sheikh Al-Tamimi called on Muslims to avoid, emotional, random and counterproductive reactions in the face of this resolution. He demanded that Muslims follow the appropriate legal steps of protest, going to the European Court of Human Rights and to the International Court of Justice, against any decision that violates the basic freedom of their religious rights.
Mr. Roland Steininger, the Swiss Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, clarified the position of his Government about the result of the referendum on banning the construction of new minarets in Switzerland, stressing that his Government is not satisfied with the outcome of the referendum, and that the government seeks to preserve the freedoms of religion in Switzerland.
He stated that his government had good relations with Muslims around the world. Mr. Steininger thanked Dr. Tamimi for the important role that he played in the world at all levels, in particular for his role in the area of dialogue and understanding between religions and civilizations. He promised to raise the important observations made by Dr. Al-Tamimi with the Swiss government and to work on them.
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