Talk:Minaret controversy in Switzerland/Archive 1

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Archive 1

contentious issues

The call to prayer may be one of the main contentious issues with Islam in Western countries.

why? Isn't terrorism one of the more contentious issues? freedom of speech? the Islamic dress controversy? Misheu 07:39, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

I think it should be: The call to prayer may be one of the main contentious issues with minarets in Switzerland.Hup 20:15, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
sounds much better. though supposedly no mosque has a call to prayer. i think it's more the symbolism of a minaret Misheu 22:26, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Cannot provide a citation but I lived near the mosque in Zürich for a few years. They don't make a call to prayer.
this is messed up...Hup 20:15, 29 November 2009 (UTC)


According to the initiative committee, the minarets are not religious structures. They are not mentioned in the Qu'ran or Islamic scriptures. Many Mosques around the world do not have minarets. The minaret is a symbol of political-religious power which ignores the tolerance of guaranteeing the freedom of religion for all. Quoting a speech of current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 1997 (then Mayor of Istanbul): "Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion." The committee argues that by allowing minarets, it would have to allow muezzins because of freedom of religion. Leading Islam groups would give up the muezzins only on condition that Christian church bells stop ringing. Thus the minarets are instruments to eliminate other religions.

First, this seems to be supporting this opinion, and is largely written as if it is an original thought. Though I'm sure its not, it needs to be reworded to make this clear. Second, it sort of devolves into non sequitors at the end. " allowing minarets, it would have to allow muezzins." What? Why is there a problem with muezzins? Then it goes on, "Thus the minarets are instruments to eliminate other religions." How? Because they refuse to give up muezzins (which they have to give up because..?) unless the church bells are given up? so by forcing their evil freedom of religious agenda on this and demanding equal rights, they are eliminating other religions? This whole section just doesn't make sense. Atropos 08:04, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

four mosques with minarets

There is also a mosque with a (little) minaret in the city of Winterthur. [4]. Besides, the minaret in Wangen was built in the meantime.[[5]] Primusinterparem (talk) 21:22, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

The Position of the Government and the Parliament regarding the popular initiative

It seems to be reasonable to add the following passage to the chapter "Opposition - The Swiss Government":

The Swiss government (Swiss Federal Council) and both chambers of Parliament are opposed to the initiative and have recommended that voters reject it at the voting polls. Press release „Federal Council opposes building ban on minarets“, August 27th 2008[1] Both chambers of the Swiss Parliament treated the initiative between March and June 2009.[2] The National Council recommended in its final voting with 132 to 51 votes (with 11 abstentions) the rejection of the initiative, the Council of States with 39 to 3 votes (with 2 abstentions).

The Swiss government believes that a ban on the construction of minarets would represent an inadmissible restriction of the right of members of the Muslim community to openly profess their religious beliefs In the view of the Swiss government and of Parliament, a prohibition on the construction of minarets would not be compatible with the values of a free and democratic society.

In its official press conference of October 15th 2009 the Swiss Federal Council emphasizes [3] that acceptance of the initiative would constitute a violation of the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience, as well as the right to equal treatment under the law and thereby endanger religious peace in Switzerland. [4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

A systemic question about weight, content and bias

In the current state of the article, arguments and views are described against the proposal with 4x the amount of space and text as for the proposal. The proposal however won the majority vote, which raises some questions about bias:

- Have nobody who is for the ban spoken anything which can be quoted? If so, why isn't it quoted? If pretty much nobody is for the ban, how come that the majority of the population is for it?

- The views of the people who are for the ban are responded to and commented in-line by those who are against the ban. But the views of the people who are against the ban where they are described are not responded to or commented by those who are for the ban. Does this mean that in the reality of Switzerland, no such comment has been made? Or is it just that it hasn't been quoted and incorporated into the text?

- "The Society for Minorities in Switzerland calls for freedom and equality." - is this a view or an authoriative statement? I am sure that the Egerkinger committe also would describe itself as calling for freedom and a good society. Should I therefore add this to the Egerkinger section: "The Egerkinger Commission calls for freedom and a good society"?

- The quotation "it appears that the material content of popular initiatives is subject to ill-considered draftsmanship because the drafters are affected by particular emotions that merely last for snatches" is included. This quotation effectively says nothing that 'the proposers are evil idiots'. If I source interviews and quotes from newspapers where people who are for the measure describe the organisations against, such as the Red Cross, Amnesty, the Bishops etc. as evil idiots, is that a relevant view to include? What determines if a quote which contains nothing but scorn and derision is relevant and notable? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

'If pretty much nobody is for the ban, how come that the majority of the population is for it?' - An answer would be that the considerable majority of notable figures in Switzerland (politicians, religious leaders, lawyers, media figures, and so on) are against it. Support for it, with the exception of the Swiss People's Party, seems to come overwhelmingly from 'ordinary people', who unfortunately are generally not notable. I agree that the section of this article on 'arguments' looks a bit lopsided at the moment, but it honestly does represent the nature of the debate in Switzerland. It would be helpful for more quotes from supporters to be added, if they can be found, but only as long as they are from notable people/organisations or reported in reliable sources. Robofish (talk) 23:28, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I would point out that while the referenda passed, it doesn't mean the majority of the population is for it. In fact I seem to recall reading that pre-elections polls suggested it would lose by a few percent. Clearly these polls were inaccurate for some reason. Whatever the case while the refendum passed and that means it is the constitution and both sides need to accept that, it doesn't mean that it's accurate to say the majority of the population is for it. Ultimately you can never know what the majority of population is for unless they all vote in a refendum which they never do and in this case only 53.4% voted. To put it a different way, if you choose not to vote, your voice doesn't count/matter but it doesn't mean you don't exist. Nil Einne (talk) 10:22, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

That's all very interesting, but...

Why? Why is this even an issue? The article says next to nothing about the motivations of the people seeking a ban. (talk) 00:59, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I was looking for a /reason/ as to why this was done. Can no one find this out? -Ottoo —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:50, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree as well. What is the basic contention? Who's for the minaret ban and why? Who's against the minaret ban and why? (talk) 13:53, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I post my reply here again after it was oddly removed by user Rama.

We don't know what are their motivations. Maybe they feel intimidated by Islam? May they are racists? Maybe it's a cultural reason they have? or maybe they want to keep the nature of their country as they know it? Maybe they see Islam as missionary religion? Maybe all of these reasons for different extents, or none of these reasons and it's something else we have no way to infer without doing original research? I'm fine with no reference for their motivation. Islamic media sources will argue it's their negative racist sentiment against immigrants and/or muslims while left wing media sources would argue something similar and right wing media would argue it's about the threat muslims comprise on the people of Swiss-leaving the article with none of these possible commentries is the best option.--Gilisa (talk) 14:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Maybe having a foreign language being blasted through loudspeakers was a nausiance. I mean some people complain when church bells go off all the time. (talk) 04:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Keep in mind that this is not a forum. I was looking into this earlier and someone mentioned that they do not broadcast over speakers in Switzerland (havven't verified and don't live there). I would like to find the reasoning for the the concerns by residents in Wangen bei Olten. The article goes into detail later in the "Non-governmental organizations" Oppossition susection.Cptnono (talk) 04:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

"Persecution of Muslims" / See also-link

from that article's lead: "...may refer to beating, torture, confiscation or destruction of property."

While many people are offended by this initiative, no mention of any of the above here. I will remove the link. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 01:36, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, the news has talked about discrimination, but by no means persecution. gren グレン 16:12, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Definition of Minaret?

I am curious exactly how the ban defines a minaret. Is it by size and shape only, or is the religious context taken into account? If a Christian church were to erect a steeple that looks just like a minaret except for the crucifix at the apex, would that be allowed?--JWWalker (talk) 03:28, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't. The government will have to draft a law—this could take up to a year—defining and differentiating minarets, and the resulting punishments. The government and intelligentsia almost universally oppose the ban, so it will be interesting to see what will come therefrom. Ssahsahnatye (talk) 03:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


I've added the categories Anti-Islam sentiment and Islam-related controversies, but both were removed from the article. I'm adding them again because, needless to say, the banning of minearets is both controversial and relating to Islam, as well as the fact that minarets being an important symbol of Islam, the banning of their construction is an example of anti-Islam sentiment. I'm not going to add them a third time if they are again deleted, as I don't wish to break the three-revert rule, so please, just leave them be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 30 November 2009

I removed it from the "Islam-related controversies" category because it is already in a subcategory of that category. (talk) 05:29, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Text or description of initiatives

As a reader who are not familiar to the issue, I wish that the text (or if unavailable, some description), translated in English, of the initiative passed is added into the article.-- (talk) 04:06, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Not being specifically acquainted with Swiss referenda, from the government website I gather that on the ballot it reads, "Initiative 'against the construction of minarets'. Yes or No?". It is not a law, it is a referendum; the implementation and details are to be decided by the government at a later date. Ssahsahnatye (talk) 04:21, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem on lack of implementation. So the initiative text seems to be "Against the construction of minarets". There is no further wording on definition of "minarets", or "how to against". Just the wording used in the initiative is simple enough. -- (talk) 05:47, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

In Simple English Wiki, it reads: The committee’s proposition reads: "The building of minarets is prohibited". It also include the fact that federal initiative cannot be reviewed. I think that is what I need.-- (talk) 06:01, 30 November 2009 (UTC)



Shouldnt the picture in the Legal Dispute section be of the Wangen bei Olten mosque? Even tho it states that it is a picture of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Zürich one could wrongly assume its the mosque thats behind the controversy due to its placement in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:29, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Not a bad idea. The image of Wangen bei Olten is currently used in the lead stacked (bad) on top of the map. The caption is ridiculously long. Any concerns with a) Putting the image in the seciton and/or b)removing the bulk of the caption. c) What is the best image for the lead? For your viewing pleasure: Wikipedia:Images and Wikipedia:CaptionsCptnono (talk) 11:15, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Done. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 12:24, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Better now, but the picture box should probably more clearly state that it is the minaret that sparked the controversy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


Why was the picture with the poster taken out and the file deleted? It is a significant element of the story.Alandeus (talk) 12:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I hope it is OK that i broke these up. I saw i the history that it was deleted. I like the picture so if anyone knows why it was deleted that would be sweet. I assume it was a copyright concern knowing commons.Cptnono (talk) 12:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
As Cptnono aptly points out, the photograph was deleted from Commons because it was a violation of copyright. Rama (talk) 12:18, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


I don't know if there is a related infobox template but I assume an image would be good up top. Any suggestions on what to use?Cptnono (talk) 23:13, 30 November 2009 (UTC)


"... was approved by 57.5% of the population ... The voter turnout was 55%." Do you mean 57.5% of those who voted? Peter jackson (talk) 11:42, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

More than a third of the people in Switzerland do not have voting rights (talk) 01:44, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Corrected to "voters" instread of population. Alandeus (talk) 11:50, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
"voters" can often mean all those qualified to vote rather than those who actually voted. Peter jackson (talk) 16:02, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Not really. If you don't vote, you're not a voter. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 16:07, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
The scope of voters in this context would mean voters for this referendum, especially when right next to the turnout figure. gren グレン 16:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
But it isn't right next to it. That's why I used the ellipsis above, to put the 2 statements next to each other. Now they're even further apart. And, whatever may be the literal, logical meaning of the word, it's often used otherwise. Peter jackson (talk) 11:43, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Whether or not you agree with the principles of islam or not, it is just a little tower, if you are opposed to Islam, than state you are, if you support islam, the minerat is not really an important part of the mosque, in modern days it is more decorative than a set use, and isnt simplicity and avoiding useless decorations in a mosque a major point of islam. The ban is petty, and pointless really, it is just a tower. (Zachary Mullin) 4:12 Dec 4, 09 (MST) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Seems like the PC police has showed up

I didn't even get to click save before someone had deleted the very paragraph I was responding too! (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 12:43, 30 November 2009 (UTC).

It isn't the PC police. It is because Wikipeida is not a forum. There are plenty of places to chat about this subect in general on the internet. This talk page is for building an encyclopedic article. See WP:NOTFORUM. Cptnono (talk) 12:58, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Bad title: A political debate is not a "controversy"

I don't understand why the title of this article is Minaret controversy. A political debate is not a "controversy", stop seeing controversies in everything. This article should be about the political debate and decision before being about a supposed controversy as presented by some medias.
This title is a total POV, see Wikipedia:NPOV about the article naming. --Rimkam (talk) 14:56, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd quite second this, and after the usual naming of elections and similar popular consultations, the correct title would be something like Popular initiative of 29 November 2009 against the construction of minarets, as named on the page of the Federal Department of Justice and Police [6]. Rama (talk) 15:07, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I do think the word is overused in article titles and subheadings (and see Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Controversy_and_scandal, although it is possible that a title that is not limited to "Popular initiative of 29 November 2009 against the construction of minarets" is needed since the article is not strictly just about that but about the issue going back further than that (and likely extending beyond the passage of the initiative, but that's speculative). Шизомби (talk) 15:15, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
@Rimkam:What title would you suggest? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 15:15, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
There's not just the "political initiative". Presumably soemone will take this to the European Human Rights Court. It would seem reasonable to include that in the same article when it happens, & therefore to choose a title now that won't need to be changed (which would mean a lot of bureaucratic work for someone). Peter jackson (talk) 16:05, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
That would fit nicely in a "consequences" late section of the article, just like the controversy itself fits in "context" preliminary section. Rama (talk) 16:14, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I third this. You can't call an election a "controversy" unless there is reason to believe the election is rigged, or you are trying to be POV. The election's official name is a bit long, but something along those lines would be more accurate. (talk) 16:11, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I think the problem is that there are two different items. There is the referendum which mostly has its own, short article which needs to be better fleshed out. That should be about the political mechanics and debate about that specific issue. But, clearly there is a wider controversy that involves a condemnation by Amnesty International and worried comments from France and the UN. We might need to clean up the articles to a better defined scope but there is clearly a controversy. And I think controversy is pretty vague as it is and pretty much means heated political debate. We do use Health care reform debate in the United States for the U.S. debate, and I think we could use "debate". It doesn't really matter that much to me what the title is. gren グレン 16:09, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

the "controversy" title predates the referendum.[7] I appreciate that the term "controversy" is over-used on Wikipedia, but in this instance it is used with justification. The popular initiative and its outcome is just a sub-topic of this article. Note how de-wiki has de:Kontroverse um den Bau von Minaretten in der Schweiz (also using "controversy") and a section redirect for the popular initiative, at de:Eidgenössische Volksinitiative «Gegen den Bau von Minaretten» --dab (𒁳) 16:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

That whole article is also much better... it actually lists both sides of the "controversy" if you will, this article here lists one side only... --Jacina (talk) 17:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

ah yes? How so? It has two large sections, one on "Support" and one on "Opposition". We'll need to restructure this anyway, as the article was clearly streamlined towards the upcoming referendum, which is now no longer upcoming. The referendum now needs to be put into context as just one point in a drawn out debate or controversy. Imo we should follow the lead of the de-wiki article and organize this whole thing chronologically rather than along the lines of "support" vs. "oppose". --dab (𒁳) 17:51, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
The "Support" section contains 2 subsections, one deals with the actual arguments, the 2nd is just about "controversial" posters that is slanted towards support (kinda similar as to how the media reported on the posters) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jacina (talkcontribs) 18:25, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

See Also Section

two users decided to remove see also section on their own. their rationale is that the ban is not related to persecution of Muslims since noone is beaten! such a Swiss rationale!

read and learn; from the article Religious persecution:

A situation in which religious persecution occurs is the opposite of freedom of religion.

this is the first sentence from the section titled as "Forms of religious persecution". the ban undoubtedly removes religious freedom of Muslims. many world leaders, the government of Switzerland and NGOs around the world emphesized the very opposite nature of the ban regarding religious freedom of Muslim Swisses.

i don't think useless Swiss nationalism helps building an encyclopedia.

-- (talk) 18:02, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

wow, so you quote Wikipedia at us to make a point.
Look, 78.162, if you can present a quotable source making out that the minaret ban amounts to "persecution", you are most welcome to produce it, and we'll include it, with proper attribution. But do everyone a favour and don't turn this into a bout polemic mud-slinging. Just present your sources for what they are worth and be done. --dab (𒁳) 18:25, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

To repeat the supporters statements, and the governments current viewpoint: Mosques can be built, you can pray, and believe what you want, the only thing is: no minarets. However minarets are not a requirement of Islamic belief.

Having that in the article would slant it no?--Jacina (talk) 18:22, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

It is highly debatable whether religious freedom is affected here, provided that by religious freedom you mean the freedom to practice any religion you like, in private. We are looking at "religious persecution" if you risk the police kicking down your door if you utter a prayer to the wrong deity.

The question is indeed controversial, and unlike the "persecution" cries above, it is also extremely easy to provide sources for both viewpoints. Which is exactly what we are going to do: present sources for every viewpoint that can be substantiated as quotable. For example, the freedom to sacrifice animals in any old way prescribed by your religion has been denied in Switzerland as well as many other countries for ages and yet we never heard of "persecution of Jews" or "persecution of Muslims" or "persecution of neo-Vikings" because of bans on their religious laws on slaughter. Whether freedom of religion includes the right to build towers is a matter of debate.

I am obviously aware that the minaret ban constitutes discrimination, seeing that the Muslims are the only religious group who get their towers mentioned in the federal constitution. However, discrimination isn't a synonym of persecution. In fact, the terms are about as close as "frown at" and "beat the hell out of". --dab (𒁳) 18:28, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

(ec)As a side, I would like to ask the Ip to not split this discussion over more than one talkpage, and refrain from inserting a summary of this article into Persecution of Muslims until the issue is resolved here. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 18:38, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Banning is Persecution

for those who ask for "quotable source":

It is an expression of intolerance and I detest intolerance.

Leaders condemn Swiss minaret ban. (2009, November 30). BBC. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from [8]

... the ban [is] an insult to the feelings of the Muslim community in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Leaders condemn Swiss minaret ban. (2009, November 30). BBC. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from [9]

-- (talk) 18:36, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

ah, and in this record of the opinion of Mr. Kouchner you make out "persecution" where? I mean, I used ctrl-F and I couldn't find mention of "persecution" anywhere in the statement. --dab (𒁳) 18:37, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Still no "persecution" Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 18:41, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
do i need a court order stating that "it was a persecution"? I see... moderators are all in one hand. go for what you deserve then... -- (talk) 18:43, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
you do not need a court order. You need to wrap your head around this: if you can find no source claiming this is about "persecution", perhaps then there is no pressing reason why Wikipedia should claim that this is about "persecution". --dab (𒁳) 19:31, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with this - for the reason that 'persecution' is quite a laden and subjective word. If Christians in Indonesia are banned from using the word 'Allah' for 'God' and punished if they do, does this mean they are persecuted? If the choice of drinking alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia, does this mean atheists are persecuted? Maybe if you asserted that minarets are an integral part of Islam, but it's more a tradition than anything else. You cannot find a single reference to it in the Quran. Although, a wording like 'is seen by XYZ as a sign of intolerance (reference: quote calling it intolerant)' would surely be OK. (talk) 20:02, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Please ensure that any additions to the See also section are for the purpose of navigation and providing related content to the reader and not as a label. Make sure that multiple reliable sources cover the correlation and it is not the just opinions of an editor or original reaserach/synth. Read: WP:SEEALSO for details on formatting and leangth.Cptnono (talk) 23:20, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Keep a Cool Head

I thought that some of the content of the above sections started to heat up so I thought that I'd through in the keep a cool head banner up there in the top. Zul32 (talk) 18:06, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Article Protection

Could we lock this article up for now? Too many edits by IP. Meishern (talk) 19:10, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

No reason for this. It's managable. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 19:43, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

support semiprotection. The IPs are mostly trolling. --dab (𒁳) 19:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I vote "No" on this because it's still a very current event and things can change rapidly -- it's best if editors (including IPs) are allowed to edit without hindrance for now in order to keep the article up-to-date. Also there's a serious pro-Islamic bias in this article, so it's important that we don't hinder editors who may have contributions from the anti-Islamic side of the debate. That said, a semi-protect could be a good idea in the future. Clear skies to you all (talk) 23:12, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Expected "rejection"

Apparently, according to Amnesty International, "The ban is expected to be rejected by either the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland or the European Court of Human Rights". [10]

This needs explication. Who "expects" this? The claim is just pulled out of thin air. Also, the Federal Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights are two rather different animals. Lumping them together like this is not permissible. As I discuss under the "Langenthal" heading, there is group which has announced they want to take this to both these courts. Now the Federal Supreme Court cannot rule anything contrary to the constitution. The constitution now says "no building of minarets", and there is nothing the Federal Supreme Court can do about that. This is also not "expected" by the group in question, they just want to argue that their particular project doesn't fall under the ban because it was submitted before the ban took effect. The European Court of Human Rights however is an entirely different matter. It is indeed quite possible that this court may rule the ban as in opposition to the European Convention on Human Rights. In this case, Switzerland will still be free to either change its constitution back the way it was, or else to rescind the convention. This falls under WP:CRYSTAL, and we at least need sources which speculate on this in a halfway informed manner. --dab (𒁳) 19:45, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Good call. We should wait for what actually happens. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 19:50, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Or they may not do anything as they are the Swiss and they pretty much don't care what others say about them. Apparently the Swiss people have spoken. --Degen Earthfast (talk) 01:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be fair to include Amnesty International's speculation that the ban will be overturned. It's cited and referenced. I changed the original paragraph: "[...]The Islamic community of Langenthal has announced their intention of taking their case to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland and if necessary further to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg" to "[...]Amnesty International has speculated that the ban will probably be overturned by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland or if necessary the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg." I think it's fair to include some reference to speculation/expectation of it being overturned, as this is relevant to the article as a current event. Amnesty International seems like as good a source as any to use for this purpose. I've cited the paragraph, and feel it's better than the previous (unless someone can provide a citation for the previous write up - I couldn't find one) since it is cited and well recorded while still being relevant to the Langenthal case. If consensus moves to remove, then feel free to, but I would recommend against a revert since the previous claim was uncited (again unless a citation can be provided). Saberswordsmen1 (talk) 08:51, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Subject to correction by you specialists, I suspect that this is just a legal formality. ECHR rules require you to exhaust all domestic remedies 1st. So they have to try the Supreme Court 1st, though I presume DB is right.
As an aside, is there still a provision in the Swiss constitution banning Jesuits from the country? I'm pretty sure there used to be. Peter jackson (talk) 11:50, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The Jesuit ban was repealed in 1973, I just read somewhere.Alandeus (talk) 08:34, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
at Religion in Switzerland#Legislation (with more details under Religion in Switzerland#History). Comparison to the Jesuit ban is one of the few intelligent things that can be said about this issue, and I definitely recommend it should be included. --dab (𒁳) 13:49, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Todo list

Hm, once in a blue moon Switzerland is on the international stage, and we have a very poor article about it. Here's a proposed "to do" list:

  • Background, in summary style:
  • some background about Muslims in Switzerland, their number and origins, and socioeconomic status (there ought to be plenty of government reports about that sort of thing),
  • previous controversies involving Muslims, e.g. the spats about swimming lessons, or the basketball player with the headscarf,
  • Analysis (by nonpartisan reliable sources, such as newspapers of record):
  • about the possible reasons for the result, and why it came as a surprise
  • about the French/German, country/city split in the results
  • "Reactions" section (no silly flag icon bullet lists, please, just a few summary style sentences)
  • National
  • Government and parties
  • Media
  • Muslim groups
  • Legal experts
  • Demonstrations (see photo, too bad I didn't think of going out to shoot one in Berne)
  • International
  • The Muslim world
  • Right-wing groups in Europe
  • Governments and public institutions, and their representatives
  • Media
  • The general public (there are reports, e.g. [11], to the effect that European newspaper website comment sections etc. appear to be mostly supportive of the ban, reflecting the apparent élite/public division seen in the Swiss vote)
  • Copyedit the bad English.

... and probably more.  Sandstein  21:14, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Why? Do we doe this about Church Towers in Switzerland?--Degen Earthfast (talk) 01:26, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

You can't possibly be serious, Degen. Are you? (talk) 03:52, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Explain article subject in lede

With the title "Minaret controversy in Switzerland", I'd like to expect some brief statement in the lede concerning what the controversy actually is. Currently, one has to read fairly deeply into the article before uncovering why some people consider minaret construction to be controversial. Steamroller Assault (talk) 21:26, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I really don't get it after reading a good deal of this article, why do people not want minarets? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:39, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

It is maybe a bit vague. It states they profess to believe that the "minaret is far more a symbol of religious-political power claim." I guess they're claiming that a mosque with a minaret indicates they're islamists who are trying to or have already established sharia. Rather reaching, but that's what they seem to be claiming. Шизомби (talk) 04:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
The request presents some problems. Firstly, it's impossible to say why people voted for the ban without asking every one of them. There's then two ways to remedy that: either 1) use only quotes where people make statements that 'The Swiss voted against because of XYZ' (effectively saving you from asking every one, you simply quote someone who theorises what it was they thought), which are very scarce given that it just very recently happened and that specialists on opposition to Islam in Switzerland are quite rare. Doing this you would have to really squeeze what sources you can find. OR, 2) use general quotes from people about negative views about Islam in Europe, and extrapolate (speculate) that those views generally and broadly motivated the Swiss.
In the latter view, if you were to seek to find reasons for the ban, you could either look to translating quotes from people on the committee or in Swiss media even if you have to search quite hard (I find it bizarre that NO such statements have ever been made - in every European nation there are a few voices opposed to Islam), or, draw upon quotes and depictions from such as Geert Wilders, Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, Haider and Oriana Fallaci. See Criticism of Islam. Of course, you would have the outcome that people would read 'views about why the ban should be in place' as claims that must be refuted thoroughly in-line, meaning that the article effectively becomes a debate about Islam in general. (talk) 09:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

There is no simple answer, only speculation. The fact is that people have expressed that they do not like minarets. The individual reasons are pretty much anyone's guess. The 57% majority has only been possible by combining several takes on Islam from people of vastly different political outlooks. Of course there is Christian religious conservativism. That gives you perhaps 10-15%. Then you have simple redneck xenophobia. That may buy you another 15%. Then you have the radical left feminists. Make that another 10%, some of that were "tactical" votes conting on the initiative's rejection. Then you have simple protest votes, directed not against Muslims but against the political elite and the unpopular Federal Council. Then you have the young voters, it appears that an overwhelming majority of the youngest segment of the voting population were in favour of the ban. This makes for the majorities or near-majorities in urban areas. The reasons here are probably the most significant, young people in urban areas being most exposed to the negative effects of mass immigration over the past 20 years. --dab (𒁳) 10:49, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

May I add that many people may simply have agreed with the sponsors' arguments. Alandeus (talk) 11:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

what "arguments"? "STOPP!" is hardly a coherent argument. The argument was that ""the construction of a minaret has no religious meaning" and hence the ban is not in violation of religious freedom, but that doesn't explain why you would want to ban minarets in the first place. --dab (𒁳) 12:07, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I meant the arguments represented first of all in the Egerkinger committee section of this article and also those arguments in detail on the Egerkinger committee's website, which I'm sure have been otherwise publizised in Switzerland. Alandeus (talk) 14:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

yes of course. That would be the argument that minarets are "unwanted and unusual projects", that "the minaret is a symbol of religious-political power claim" etc. I seriously would like to hear the opinion of some scholars of Islam on this. Also, these points should go to the minaret article, which is extremely stubby at this point. To my mind, the "argument" of the committee is "we don't want any minarets, hence we can bloody well ban them". They do not contain any rational explanation of the reasons for which they dislike minarets. Hence the common interpretation that the ban is actually just an expression of Islamophobia, without any particular reason why the expression should happen to pick minarets in particular. --dab (𒁳) 17:46, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Although that may be what the argument sounds like in your mind, it may be different in the minds of others. Someone who is opposed to Islam may want to ban something which combines the features of being, in their view, a strong permanent public symbol of power and dominance, and something that can spread gradually, which makes that symbol picked over something which is invisible and private. Preferences are never 'rational', or we would live in the 'economic man world' - why against Islam? Why against Scientology, or against fur coats while millions of rabbits die in treshers? Treating others as insane doesn't provide much insight. (talk) 20:37, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

But the lede section is still a vague mess, so here we are presented with a challenge to summarize the controversy in a few well-formed paragraphs. Pointing to WP:LEDE, "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies." So we've got a bit of a task in front of us. Surely the word 'Islam' belongs in the intro, and some measured statements describing the actual controversy belong there as well. Steamroller Assault (talk) 20:06, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

One "reason" which is not currently mentioned in the article but which figures largely in the Egerkinger Committee's literature on minarets is that the minaret is something which signifies the intent of the Muslim community to remain in Switzerland permanently. As long as Muslims are satisfied with praying in makeshift Mosques (many Muslims in Switzerland make due with converted warehouses, factories or office buildings), it sends the message that they only intend on staying as long as the economy justifies their presence as a welcome addition to the workforce. The minaret is a clear sign that this is not the case, and that the Muslims who came to Switzerland as either political or economic refugees want to stay for good. --Aryaman (talk) 00:25, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

i want to see a real reson for not alowing the muslims to build them. i see no real resons aganist it, as they dont seem to endanger anything. is it just that some racists dont want them? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:35, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Langenthal minaret and the European Court of Human Rights

In the Langenthal minaret section there is a mention of:
"The Islamic community of Langenthal has announced their intention of taking their case to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland and if necessary further to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg".
The reference given[12] is in German but I think it only refers to the later statement by Rainer Schweizer.

While I have no doubt that there will be some kind of legal challenges, I don't think that the European Court of Human Rights has jurisdiction on such mater. And if it does not, I doubt that the Islamic community of Langenthal would have made such an erroneous statement. Either way, I think we should have a reference. FFMG (talk) 06:36, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the uncited statement and replaced it with one citing Amnesty International as speculating that the ban will be overturned. It's not quite matching the original sentence, showing that the community will necessarily be taking action, but it at least shows there is serious speculation that there will be legal action (and it's well cited). I felt this was a good compromise, showing a cited source and showing speculation of legal action. I've made a statement in one of the above sections of the Talk page also supporting this. I'm fine if consensus is to remove, but I recommend against a simple revert to an uncited statement. Saberswordsmen1 (talk) 10:34, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I apologize for all the German-language references, but it lies in the nature of the topic that the most detailed coverage will be in either German or French.

The article linked does indeed substantiate the passage you quote. The relevant portion is

Wenn nötig, will die Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft Langenthal ihren Fall via Verwaltungs- und Bundesgericht bis vor den Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte in Strassburg ziehen. «Das kann Jahre dauern», sagte der Anwalt der Glaubensgemeinschaft, Daniel Kettiger, am Montag auf Anfrage.

The European Court of Human Rights does have jurisdiction, but only after all legal options within Switzerland are exhausted. This means that the complaint needs to be taken to the Supreme Federal Court first even if it is clear that it is futile. This will take several years. After that, the European Court of Human Rights may very well (or even probably) rule the ban as violating the European Convention on Human Rights, after which Switzerland will find itself right in the pickles. However, this is several years off in any case, and there are several things that might happen before it comes to that.

Now we have the BBC reporting on the article, I agree it has become quotable[13] even if this is bad journalism. Amnesty is well qualified to criticize the ban, but it is quite apparently not qualified to speculate on the possible outcome of legal disputes taken to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

--dab (𒁳) 10:37, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Supreme courts are generally there to defend the constitution, this is their prime directive in Switzerland as well as the US. This does mean that as the change was made IN the constitution (and in a way that does not allow any misinterpretation) that the judges will HAVE to vote for the ban, even if they themselves disagree. If something is to be changed it will only happen if it comes to trial in front of a judge NOT bound by the Swiss constitution, which would be the European Court of Human Rights. Once it gets there things will get intresting... is building something a human right? How does this apply to nations where certain constructions are also forbidden due to religious reasons? When is a building defined as a "religious" building? (Minarets, it could be argued, are not required for the faith like mosques are) How far can democracy go? --Jacina (talk) 11:53, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

indeed. Nobody is going to ask the Federal Supreme Court to pass a ruling against a paragraph in the constitution. The court simply is not authorized to do that. The Amnesty comment is just that, a comment pulled off the web with no truth value whatsoever. As I said, the Strasbourg court is a different matter entirely, and the scenario of people taking this to Strasbourg very much does deserve discussion. --dab (𒁳) 12:05, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

If it is anything similar to the US (which it sounds like it is from everyone's assumptions/knowledge) the Supreme Court cannot "overturn" it but they can essentially force its nullification (refered to quite frequently as overturning) it if they chose to hear a case regarding the issue and disagree. No one here is a source so it doesn't matter what our interpretation of the law or judicial history is. An English secondary source says something that can be quoted if necessary to replace a citation needed flag. Is the NZZ Online article meant to cite the previously flagged line and if so does it do it? Unfortunately, a whole paragraph cited with a foreign source that has a line directly tagged with citation needed is going to raise questions from other editors so you need to make it crystal clear.Cptnono (talk) 12:35, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Though without going too far into legal details, art. 190 of the constitution states that "The Federal Supreme Court and the other judicial authorities shall apply the federal acts and international law." This has traditionally been interpreted to mean that statutes overrule the constitution in the event of irreconcilable conflict, because statutes are subject to confirmation by facultative referendum. Since the same applies to treaties, it is conceivable (though frankly unlikely) that the Supreme Court, or lower courts, will decline to apply the new constitutional provision if they find it to conflict with the ECHR. As a lawyer, I find the constitutional ramifications of this whole issue extremely interesting, though our readership may not.  Sandstein  12:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
you are right, the FSC may indeed comment on the constitution, already to interpret its precise application. Strictly speaking we need to cite sources for my claim that the FSC won't be able to do anything about this. Which will be easy, as I've seen that point being made in the press about ten times since yesterday.
Cptnono, it will be some time before the international media pick up on the Langenthal case. They will eventually, never doubt that, but for the moment we are stuck with Swiss sources as this used to be an entirely local (Bernese) dispute until yesterday. Just give it a few days and sources will improve. You can google "Langenthal" on google news, but for now I only see German language articles popping up (but then lots of these). --dab (𒁳) 13:09, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
As far as I have bothered to research this, the reference at the end of the paragraph is more than sufficient for every single claim that is made in the paragraph. There was never a need for a fact tag in the first place. Wild speculations about the content of a source in a language that one doesn't understand are no substitute for checking the facts that one does understand. In this case a quick look in the article's history shows that the entire 1-paragraph section was introduced yesterday in one piece by Dbachmann in this edit. It's obvious that the single source at the end of this chunk was meant to cover all of it. Hans Adler 13:11, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
the paragraph is simply a bief summary of the article linked. Look, I accept that I have to plod through Russian language sources when researching items of local Russian politics, and I expect people to put up with German language sources when researching petty legal disputes in the canton of Berne. --dab (𒁳) 13:14, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I just wanted to give a quick thanks to those who were able to double checked the reference. The only languages I understand other than English is google translate (which failed miserably).Cptnono (talk) 10:47, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

The most recent stroke is that the Langenthal Muslims now claim that they aren't building a "minaret" at all, they just want to adorn their mosque with a minarettähnliches Türmchen, a "minaret-like turret". They argue that since the turret has no facilities for a Muezzin, it cannot be described as a minaret proper.[14] I like this. --dab (𒁳) 13:17, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm assuming when it's claimed that the ban on minarets stands in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 is being referred to. Is this the case? And further, has there been any precedent which justifies this claim? §2 leaves a lot of room for interpretation... --Aryaman (talk) 14:04, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
(Partially answering my own question): The Leyla Şahin v. Turkey case appears to be the closest precedent, and the ECHR upheld the Turkish ban. The reason I raise the question is that I've read in multiple sources that the ban on minarets "clearly violates" the Convention, but in the absence of any ruling, isn't this just so much speculation? --Aryaman (talk) 14:25, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the initiative is claimed to violate article 9 and article 14 of the ECHR ("The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as ... religion ... or other status"). There is enormous precedent about both provisions, and I suppose we can find respected constitutional lawyers expressing opinions in reliable sources about how it might apply to this case. In my opinion, the ban is indeed in patent violation of the ECHR, but our individual opinion does not matter here.  Sandstein  14:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't believe that §2 is open to (relevant) interpretation: "as are prescribed by law and are necessary...". Very clearly none of the reasons given applies in this case, except arguably under the very restrictive interpretation that the minaret prohibition does in fact only apply to minarets intended to be used by muezzins. The EC[ourt]HR might instruct the Swiss authorities to interpret the constitution in a way that is compatible with the EC[onvention]HR. For me the key point would be §1: Does Article 9 apply to minarets in the first place? The words "[f]reedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs" in §2 clearly refer back to §1: "this right includes freedom [...] to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance." I am not sure that minarets (without muezzins!) fall under "worship, teaching, practice and observance" any more than belfries do. Hans Adler 14:30, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
I didn't mean to incite debate/discussion on this page. I'm trying to ask if (1) any sources have made explicit mention of Article 9 as that part of the Convention which the ban supposedly violates, and (2) whether there has been any kind of precedent which has been mentioned as such in relation to this case. --Aryaman (talk) 14:58, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
How the Strasbourg court would rule on the ban is, of course, pure speculation at this point. The scenario of Strasbourg accusing Switzerland of human rights violation is, at present, drawn up by the losing side of this referendum, notably the Swiss Green Party. The prediction that such a ruling is likely is due to the suddenly ubiquitous Rainer Schweizer, law professor in St. Gallen. But it may be worth noting that the Swiss People's Party have reacted to this scenario by announcing that in such a case, they would campaign to rescind Switzerland's commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.[15] This is, of course, nothing more than rhetorics at this point. However we end up putting the Strasbourg option, we need to emphasize that such a ruling will not be available sooner than after several years from now. --dab (𒁳) 17:02, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

United Nations Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir

I someone has the time it may be woth adding the UNs reaction. See for example UN-Rep Asma Jahangir warns Swiss over minaret ban

The UN or A UN human rights expert Cptnono (talk) 11:48, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

New Comments Building on Persecution but not Controversy

i sure know that only swiss nationalists, christian democrats and their pan-europeanist fellows are allowed to write in this article. so i'm putting the statements here. the references are provided.

UN statement from yahoo news[5]:

The United Nations called Switzerland's ban on new minarets "clearly discriminatory" and deeply divisive, and the Swiss foreign minister acknowledged Tuesday the government was very concerned about how the vote would affect the country's image.

another official UN statement from The Seattle Times[6]:

These are extraordinary claims when the symbol of one religion is targeted. [I am] saddened to see xenophobic arguments gain such traction with Swiss voters despite their "long-standing support of fundamental human rights.

— Navi Pillay, U.N. human rights chief

A referencing statement from Muslim Women's League[7]:

In France, over 500 hate crimes [against Muslims] were reported in 1996. Similar incidents have been reported, although not as widespread, in the Netherlan{{ds, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom. In Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, the victims of hate crimes which often includes murder, are members of the Romani population, many of whom are Muslim. Discrimination by government institutions against these minorities can be interpreted as a form of endorsement of similarly motivated prejudice, only expressed in a more extreme fashion.

Amnesty International[8]:

That Switzerland, a country with a long tradition of religious tolerance and the provision of refuge to the persecuted, should have accepted such a grotesquely discriminatory proposal is shocking.

— David Diaz-Jogeix, Amnesty International's deputy program director for Europe and Central Asia


The simple truth is that Islam will grow and thrive in Europe over time. Even without minarets. If anything the muslims in Switzerland should accept the ban as a challenge and innovate mosque architecture to comply with the ban, and assert their Islamic and Swiss identities proudly. In this they might draw inspiration from their German counterparts, whose stunning and innovative mosque designs are a form of "confrontational architecture". Europe's long legacy of religious intolerance and oppression, is what gave birth to the freedoms that until now the Swiss nation had enshrined as core values; In much the same way, THIS MODERN PERSECUTION is the impetus that muslims in Europe must accept as a challenge to perpetuate and protect those very same values and freedoms.

The New York Times Editorial[10]:

Disgraceful. That is the only way to describe the success of a right-wing initiative to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, where 57 percent of voters cast ballots for a bigoted and mean-spirited measure.

Banning minarets does not address any of the problems with Muslim immigrants, but it is certain to ALIENATE and anger them.

In Switzerland, Muslims amount to barely 6 percent of the population and there is no evidence of Islamic extremism. If its residents can succumb so easily to the propaganda of a xenophobic right-wing party, then countries with far greater Muslim populations and far more virulent strains of xenophobia best quickly start thinking about how to counter the trend.If left unchecked, xenophobia spreads fast. Already right-wingers in the Netherlands and Denmark have called for similar measures, and others are bound to be encouraged by the success of the Swiss People’s Party.

as you see, now i have provided a referenced comment and many comments in parallel with this comment which EXPLICITLY and LITERALLY uses the word PERSECUTION.

-- (talk) 15:41, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

I disagree - the comment from BeliefNet isn't notable. Seattle Times says 'targeting Islam' with this policy, but this is not the same, in my opinion, as persecuting muslims. Would you agree that atheists are persecuted in Saudi Arabia, because something they enjoy is banned? Are muslims persecuted in France, because teachers are banned from using the veil? Are Hindus persecuted in Saudi Arabia, if they cannot pray where they want? I still think that persecution is such a strong word that it should only be used when there is active seeking out and harassing on a notable scale. Otherwise there is a LOT of persecution in the world. Private schools persecute those with piercings because they ban them. (talk) 20:27, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Of course, I guess there's a Wikipedia article on persecution. If there's a definition you can find there which is universally applicable, I'll check out various contry articles and add in statements about which groups are persecuted where. (talk) 20:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^]
  2. ^ Deliberations / Debates concerning the popular initiative in the Parliament, [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Website of the federal administration regarding the Popular initiative against the construction of minarets, [3]
  5. ^ KLAPPER, B. S. (2009, December 1). UN slams 'discriminatory' Swiss minaret ban - Yahoo! News. Yahoo News. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from
  6. ^ BRADLEY S. KLAPPER, Frank Jordans, & Louise Nordstrom. (2009, December 1). Nation & World | UN slams 'discriminatory' Swiss minaret ban | Seattle Times Newspaper. The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from
  7. ^ Persecution of Muslims in Europe. (n.d.). Muslim Women's League. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from
  8. ^ NICK CUMMING-BRUCE, & STEVEN ERLANGER. (2009, November 30). Swiss ban construction of minarets. The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from
  9. ^ Aziz Poonawalla. (2009, November 30). Switzerland bans the minaret - City of Brass. BELIEFNET. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from
  10. ^ A Vote for Intolerance. (2009, December 1). The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2009, from

well, smashing, you were asked to look for references and you did. I see no reason for the bitching tone and the comments about "christian democrats". Now feel free to introduce the references you found into the article, within WP:DUE. As you seem to have an opinion in this "controversy", it may be best to avoid personal comment of the sort you feel called to place on the talkpage.

It may also be worth noting that the only comment containing the "persecution" allegation in your collection above is from a blog, posted by one Aziz Poonawalla, and containing other hysterical soundbites ("All muslims are Taliban, Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism etc. etc.")[16] So somebody in the blogosphere shouted "persecution". Quick, notify Wikipedia.

I am Aziz Poonawalla. The "hysterical soundbites" are not a statement of accusation but describing the mentality and thinking behind the ban. As I explain in my blog post, the Swiss muslim community is a model of assimilation and modernism (and I provide sourcing to that effect). But the arguments I quoted in my post specifically ascribe extremist views more appropriate to the Taliban (cut off heads, impose burka, etc) in justification of the ban. This is the context for my sentence which is unfairly labeled "hysterical" when it is a accurate characterization of the general paranoia in Switzerland about muslims and Islam. I have no dog in teh fight over how my reference is used - thats your prerogative as Editors to decide - but I must set teh record state about my own article, especially if it is used as a source. ~Azizhp —Preceding unsigned comment added by Azizhp (talkcontribs) 20:35, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
"General paranoia in Switzerland"? And you wonder why people don't take your blog seriously? --Aryaman (talk) 12:17, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I grant you that the NYT opinion piece is harsh enough. "Disgraceful. bigoted and mean-spirited." I daresay it is undisputed that the ban is discriminatory, and personally I fully concede the "bigoted and mean-spirited". But let me point out this Tages-Anzeiger article which compares the most recent "outburst of xenophobia" in Switzerland, expressed at the ballot without a single pavement stone thrown in anger, to the normal expression of xenophobia in the countries that now take it upon themselves to chide the Swiss, including the 2005 civil unrest in France, the 2008 anti-Roma riots in Italy, the Mosque-burnings following the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004. So there is xenophobia in Switzerland. How "disgraceful", as the NYT, a newspaper hailing from the home of race riots, chooses to put it. Remarkable, but the way this sentiment was expressed (at the ballot) is at least as remarkable, and probably more characteristic of Switzerland than the mere fact that xenophobia exists. --dab (𒁳) 16:33, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Oh, please. There are exactly three occurrences of the term "persecution":
  • One by the "Muslim Women's League" dating from November 1996
  • one by some blog
  • the third quotation -- did you ever bother to read it? -- credits Switzerland with offering refuge to the persecuted.
I am willing to stretch the assumption of good faith to the point where I say that this is laughable research, but that's really pushing it. Rama (talk) 19:28, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Er, just who are the United Nations who are making these statements?
  1. the Security Council?
  2. the General Assembly?
  3. the Secretary-General?
  4. the Human Rights Council (or whatever it's called these days)?
  5. some junior "spokesperson" with nothing better to do with their time?

Don't you think we ought to be told? Peter jackson (talk) 11:38, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I believe it was Navanethem Pillay. --Aryaman (talk) 12:19, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
source says: "U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay" so put it in.Cptnono (talk) 12:40, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
certainly, it's quotable, but quotable as a personal opinion expressed by a noteworthy induvidual, not as an official resolution by any UN body.
I have checked the European Convention on Human and Fundamental Rights and I frankly find no paragraph that could be argued to be violated by the minaret ban. The freedom of religion paragraph is about the freedom to practice religious "customs and rites". The anti-discrimination paragpraph outlaws discrimination in the application of the Convention itself, it doesn't apply to discrimination in details of national law. Neither paragraph can be taken to apply to the minaret ban, unless you want to argue that building minarets is a religious rite. Of course the ban is still discriminatory, I am just saying it doesn't happen to be covered by the European Convention on Human Rights. --dab (𒁳) 08:47, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
Certainly it should be changed. Do it. I tried searching the article real quick to make it myself but I don't even know where the disputed line is. "U.N. human rights chief Navanethem Pillay > UN.Cptnono (talk)


Could you add voter counts for the referendum? Just percentages is not enough. --Error (talk) 02:15, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. (talk) 03:05, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Do you have a source to pull from?Cptnono (talk) 03:12, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
1,534,054 Yes. 1,135,108 No. source Ssahsahnatye (talk) 04:03, 2 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! --Error (talk) 00:29, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Heir of Peter voices in

Rumor says the Vatican will disband the famed Swiss Guard and use italian bodyguards instead. That would be a strongly visible method of protest. (talk) 16:46, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Source? --Aryaman (talk) 17:52, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

Can someone check the reference?

This statement is made "Many other religious organisations find the idea of a complete minaret ban as lamentable.[22]" followed by a sentence with a long list of religious groupings. There's no refs for the list. Can someone confirm that the entire list is supported by the ref (it's in German so I can't)? If it is, either move the reference or use the reference twice to make it clear it supports the list. Nil Einne (talk) 17:05, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure that it's appropriate to go into such detail, but the list is copied from the source and so I have copied the reference to make this clear. Hans Adler 17:16, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

What is a minaret?

Don't direct me to minaret. I'm not so much asking a factual question as to trying to understand what the law means. I'm not that experienced with direct democracy but from reading the article, it appears to me that this ban has one of the problems that is common with refrenda of this sort in that while the question sounds simple, precisely what results from it doesn't seem clear. With normal laws by legislative bodies, it's common AFAIK (if they do their job properly) to give some guidelines as to the meaning of the law (unless it's purposely left ambigious) for example in this specific case what a 'minaret' is. If I understand it correct, this wasn't the case here since it was simply an amendment banning the construction of minarets but what a minaret is is not defined. I see someone mentioned above about a Turkish group planning to build a minaret like turret which was the obvious thing that occured to me. I.E. that groups could (try to) construct structures that look like minarets but argue they are not minarets. Presuming that doesn't work, the other obvious implication is whether people are going to challenge any structure that looks like a minaret even one that isn't being built by a Muslim group. If that doesn't work, to take it to an extreme what happens if a Jewish, Catholic or some other group constructs a community centre or something with a 'minaret like' structure and it's deemed not a minaret because the group isn't Muslim except the day after they finish they 'decide' they're going to sell it to a Muslim group... Just to be clear I'm not trying to use this page as a forum but it seems to me these are obvious questions that arise from this which may be addressed/discussed in reliable sources and if they are should be added to the article. P.S. I recognise that the actual law is not in English Nil Einne (talk) 10:01, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Are you asking what the legal definition of the structure is according to the wording of the referendum?Cptnono (talk) 10:39, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The referendum created a constitutional rule rather than a simple law. So it is now up to the government(s) to write laws that conform to it. But you're right that this puts them in an impossible situation; a "minaret" can't simply be defined as a tower but will have to be a tower attached to a mosque. And that is said to violate other parts of the constitution which allow religious freedom. That's the contradiction that we mention in the article (enunciated by the Greens and the gov't). --JGGardiner (talk) 20:16, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I understand that. So you're saying that the constitutional amendment is ineffective without laws defining a minaret? If so, this needs to be addressed in the article IMHO since while it's clear enough IMHO that this is simply a constitutional amendment, it's not particular clear how this would take effect. I had assumed the the amendment takes effect immediately and it would largely be defined by the courts in response to challenges of building plans etc. Perhaps this is obvious from Swiss law and legal system however a simple and short explaination would still be helpful. The complexity/conflicting issues facing such a definition should also be addressed briefly IMHO. While the article does mention the Green et al's view this conflicts with the guarantee of freedom of religion, it doesn't really discuss the problems facing any attempt at definition of a minaret. While these may seem obvious to us, they may not occur to many readers. Nil Einne (talk) 16:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
It may depend if the Swiss have an equivalent to Void for vagueness. Traditionally a minaret is a tower from which a muezzin who is physically on or in it calls the prayer, though in recent years it may be a tower from which loudspeakers issue the muezzin's call (and he may be standing within the mosque, or it might be a recording possibly), or it may just be a tower that identifies the structure as a mosque and have no association with the call. The tower may or may not be attached to the mosque. And then could a structure which is not a tower from which the call is issued be called a minaret? Who knows? Шизомби (talk) 16:48, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I have added a paragraph about this problem in the Langenthal section, and renamed it to "Implementation and the Langenthal minaret". Hans Adler 17:57, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Call to prayer

According to #contentious issues and also #That's all very interesting, but..., none of the minarets in Switzerland are used for the call to prayer. I'm presuming then that this wasn't much of an issue at all in the referendum (you can of course ban the call to prayer without banning minarets). Currently our article doesn't mention it at all but given the discussions above and the association some may have, it's probably worth mentioning that minarets in Switzerland are not used for the call to prayer and it wasn't an issue presuming both can be sourced (in relation to the controversy) Nil Einne (talk) 10:16, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

A similar mention is up above but I can't find it in the mess! Nice work. The surrounding community in Wangen bei Olten was upset but the article doesn't say why. We need a source going into detail on the initial spark. Cptnono (talk) 10:36, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
The history of this all seems rather murky. There was obviously a strong de facto ban in place because there are apparently upwards of 200 suitable mosques and centres but none with minarets until recently. It seems that local zoning regulators were keeping them out just like we mention in the Wangen case. This is not unique to Switzerland. Two Austrian states, Carinthia and Vorarlberg have recently passed laws which allow their local governments to do the same. They don't mention mosques specifically but use coded language about "special buildings" and the like. Some of the German press has related that to the Swiss experience. The movement to ban minarets seems to have deeper roots than just the small one in Wangen. --JGGardiner (talk) 20:14, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

it's true that no minaret in Switzerland was ever even suggested to be used for the call to prayer. The call to prayer was nevertheless a major issue in the controversy. A lot of people voted against minarets because it was suggested to them that it is obvious that they would ultimately be used for the call to prayer. Christoph Blocher can be quoted as suggesting(issue 110 of his online video broadcast) that if the minaret ban failed to be implemented, he would need to get up to go jogging at five o'clock in the morning in the future if he didn't want to be bothered by the cries of the muezzins. I know. That's right-wing populism for you. --dab (𒁳) 15:28, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Well either way it seems this belongs in the article (preferably with better sources) Nil Einne (talk) 16:27, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

POV and WP:OR material

I have reverted[17] the edits by an IP user, User:, which introduce polemic material argued from the POV of the IP editor himself, as violating WP:OR and WP:NPOV. The IP keeps reinserting the same edit, so would somebody please keep an eye on this. I have also reverted the edit[18] by User:Manticore55, since the sentence that edit has introduced was grammatically malformed and its intended meaning unclear; also, the use of highly charged language such as "decried the hypcorisy of" should be avoided per WP:NPOV. Nsk92 (talk) 21:23, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

I will attempt to reform the sentence, however, your dual reversions implies I engaged in Original Research which I did not. Manticore55 (talk) 22:11, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, regarding OR I meant the edits by the IP, Nsk92 (talk) 22:32, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Rightly so, has been taken out 4 times by now.
As for the repeated insertion of this "outlawing of Christians in Mecca mosques"-stuff, it has absolutely nothing to do with either support of or opposition to the issue at hand. It's not like the people in Mecca suddenly jumped the gun and changed the rules in response to this; it has been the practice for a very long time. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 22:35, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
Basically, I agree with Seb's last point. The stuff about Christians in Mecca is not directly relevant and, in the way it was presented by Manticore55 sounds polemic rather than NPOV. If these kinds of arguments (about Christians in Mecca mosques, etc) were indeed raised in Switzerland in the context of the Minaret controversy, then a mention of this may be included in this article. However, references would need to be provided in a balanced and neutral way. Nsk92 (talk) 23:11, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
It did come up, quite a bit actually; especially in the fallout. Here's some dismissive commentary in yesterday's for example (in the original German[19] and English[20]). --JGGardiner (talk) 01:17, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Quote from said article's lead: " But the argument is the height of intellectual laziness. The two groups simply cannot be compared." -- exactly. cannot be compared, doesn't belong here. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 02:09, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
To say that two things "can't be compared" is a hyperbolic way of saying that they should not be. Besides, in English it says that apples and oranges can't be compared but Germans will do it so that article says apples and pears. In any event, if you continue on to the body of the article, Musharbash is clearly describing the comparison as one facet, invalid in his opinion, of the debate that Europeans are having. The point of his article is to refute the notion. As North Americans, you and I might find that reasoning, or even the whole debate, repugnant but it exists all the same. Incidentally the same section of has a news article from their Turkish correspondant also on the subject. [21]

The whole tit-for-tat argument was there, prominently, from the beginning. Again, one doesn't even have to leave Der Spiegel to know that. For example here's two articles from '07 where Blocher uses it as the main thrust of his argument (likely from the same interview).[22] [23] I'm sorry but your suggestion that this has nothing to do with the support for the initiative, was well-meaning but a little misinformed. I'm not arguing that we should include anything. And I support the reversion of Manticore's posts. But I was also uncomfortable with the reflexive dismissal above. --JGGardiner (talk) 08:54, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, we now have officials of Turkey and Iran(!) complaining about the ban. I ask you. This is involuntary comedy. I can see western countries criticizing Switzerland for falling short of western secularism, but to have an Islamic theocracy deposit official notes of protest over the minaret ban is simply absurd. --dab (𒁳) 15:21, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

The above comment was removed by Alandeus. I tried to restore it, but Dbachmann was faster. The absurdity of these protests is of course highly relevant for making up our collective mind about how to treat them in the article. Hans Adler 16:15, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Clarification: If someone wants to bring up this issue somewhere else in the article (of course, it would need elaboration), that can certainly be done. I am simply opposed to wedging it nilly-willy-somewhere which makes it look like it has anything to do with this particular referendum (e.g. stands on the same (for lack of a better word) "level" as the other support/oppostion-voices). Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 17:41, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Eh, hypocrisy is nothing new. Possibly there could be a see also for restrictions on building churches, or a category for building restrictions which could include religiously-motivated ones as well as secular like Height restriction laws. Шизомби (talk) 14:27, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

In any case, Iran's comments seem to be fairly normal to me. [24] They aren't saying they're better then Switzerland in terms of freedom of religion. In fact they're saying that the Switzerland move proves the claims of the West that they respect freedom of religion is bullshit. This is somewhat similar to their comments when it came to the Muhammad cartoon controversy and their Holocaust denial conference regarding freedom of speech. People may dispute whether one country can be said to speak for the whole Western world or can point out that Switzerland is still a lot better then Iran but I don't think you can easily say Iran is hypocritical in this instance. If Switzerland never claimed they support freedom of religion and declared themselves a Christianian theocracy and Iran was criticising them for this saying that they should respect the freedom of religion then you may have a point but this is not of course what they're doing. As for Turkey, I don't think they're a great example either. Turkey is a fairly secular country and while there are issues (e.g. secularism in Turkey the state involvement in religious education for Muslims and in mosques) and the headscarf ban is controversial many of these have similarities in other Western democracies except they concern Christians and Christianity rather then Muslims and Islam, e.g. France's ban, a number of Western countries have some degree of state sanctioned religious education, official religions even. Turkey does of course official ban religious political parties yet it's not uncommon in a number of Western democracies to have religions based parties. (Of course some Turkish parties may be the same in all but name.) I'm ignoring the Cyprus issue of course which has a variety of conflicting factors. I'm also obviously only talking about religion since that's the issue at hand here, Turkey may have other problems particularly when it comes to race relations and associated issues such as the problems of Kurdish and Armenian people Nil Einne (talk) 16:55, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

reminiscent of missiles

CNN may report that the minarets in the poster are ″reminiscent of missiles″ but that doesn't make it a fact, just CNN's opinion. We don't need to repeat their opinion, especially since the poster in question is shown. Jzeise (talk) 01:51, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

True. Article is protected until tomorrow, but this "We'll tell you how to interpret what you see"-stuff should go. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 02:07, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

nonsense. This isn't Wikipedia's voice. The statement is linked to about five reports on the poster all of which are in agreement that they are reminiscent of missiles. Probably that's because they are, in fact, reminiscent of missiles. --dab (𒁳) 15:12, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

That's something I was curious about, too. Are they saying that this particular representation makes minarets look like missiles? Or are they saying that minarets already look like missiles, and this poster just makes that fact unnecessarily obvious? Because the minarets on that poster look nearly identical to several well-known examples from around world, such as those of the Mohammed Ali Mosque in Cairo. --Aryaman (talk) 18:25, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
It seems likely that the creators were making some analogy between proliferation of missles and minarets/Muslims/Islamists>terrorism. It would be more useful to know what was written about this topic in the Swiss press, though. Шизомби (talk) 19:06, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
The poster was widely criticised in Switzerland as too aggressive, including by a member of the UN Human Rights Commission. [25] A few Swiss sources and many German sources of the highest quality referred to the minarets as depicted like missiles. The Swiss canton of Basel banned the poster, and a report about this mentions the "missiles". [26] There seems to have been a debate about the poster, with some people claiming that minarets always look like missiles anyway, to defend it. Hans Adler 20:08, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the “about five” reports that state the minarets look like missiles. I′m sure that was the intent. Nonetheless, our reporting that they do is giving Wikipedia an opinion as to their appearance. We may report that others think they look like missiles, but we shouldn't report that they do.Jzeise (talk) 20:54, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, but I think an English source should be used only if it's explicitly referencing a Swiss source; if it's an English article making its own observation, that's not terribly relevant to the controversy as it exists in Switzerland (unless it's an English-language Swiss paper, I guess). Ideally Swiss sources should be used. What's their word for missile? I didn't see Lenkflugkörper used on the site. Шизомби (talk) 01:49, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
Word for missile? "Rakete" and so used for instance by "raketenähnlich gezeichnete Minarette", see By the way, there is mention of the minarets 'protruding' from the flag. This does not seem to be the case in the article's prime example. However, in other posters by other parties, this is clearly the case as can see in further examples of the reference above. I shall make proper editing adjustments. Alandeus (talk) 07:41, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
As a Swiss, I can attest that Swiss media regularly compare(d) the minarets on the poster to missiles (German: Raketen, French: missiles), and IIRC the proponents of the ban do not contest that this is the intended impression.  Sandstein  08:53, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

sources and video covering the issue

Here's a video from European Journal [27] and a coule articles [28], and [29], that might be good to include. It was also featured on the Daily Show Thursday Dec. 3, if an American pop-cultural take is of any use. ChildofMidnight (talk) 06:52, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't see the use of videos to cover this. A referendum and an amendment to a constitution isn't a very... visual topic. --dab (𒁳) 15:17, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I think it's very useful for readers because it provides them an opportunity to see and hear from the people involved, something this article can't provide. It also provides visual context. ChildofMidnight (talk) 06:13, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

How is this a controversy?

Why is this article called Minaret controversy in Switzerland? How is it controversial? Islamic state countries have banned the building of churches for hundreds of years.--Rabka Uhalla (talk) 19:33, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Minarets like church spires are architecture, they are fashion trends in building form. Neither the Christian bible or the koran that I am aware specifies that places of religious worship need to be a particular shape. It is very silly. Trying to pretend that international law or human rigths law applies to building styles is a bit retarded AntaineNZ (talk) 03:24, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Oh, please, give me a break. The issue has been overwhelmingly referred to as a controversy in mass media, see e.g. the most recent googlenews results [30]. Nsk92 (talk) 04:12, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
Rabka Uhalla, please also be aware that patently offensive and inflammatory edits like this one[31] are disruptive and can lead to your account being blocked. Nsk92 (talk) 04:25, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
That google search is searching for articles with minaret or controversy or switzerland in the article, so hardly any of them even mention it's a controversy. And what is wrong with telling users great ways to donate to charity?--Rabka Uhalla (talk) 14:50, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
The googlenews results I provided show that the dispute is routinely referred to as a controversy by the newsmedia covering it. Since your removal of the word controversy from the article has been challenged by other users, you must first obtain expressed consensus here, at this talk page for your change, before re-inserting this change again. On your other question, it is the part of your post[32] where you argue for the use of Quran as toilet paper which is patently offensive and inflammatory. Nsk92 (talk) 16:16, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
"Rabka Uhalla," you realize you may get blocked soon, right? Maybe some of your other accounts as well? Шизомби (talk) 14:58, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
That's not proof.--Rabka Uhalla (talk) 16:00, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

I see consensus to move the article to Minaret ban in Switzerland and restore my edits, and the only editors who disagree won't back up their claims yet still continue to revert anyway.--Rabka Uhalla (talk) 16:12, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

There is no such consensus here. If you implement the move without such consensus, you will be reverted and blocked. Nsk92 (talk) 16:16, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
There is a consensus, the only ones who disagree won't back up their claims.--Rabka Uhalla (talk) 16:20, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any evidence for a consensus. In any case, since this is obviously a controversial move, I suggest you follow the process in Wikipedia:Requested moves#Requesting potentially controversial moves to ensure there is genuine consensus Nil Einne (talk) 16:24, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
There is no consensus for a move. In any event, the article name refers the controversy within Switzerland over the status of minarets and not the controversy that the referendum has caused in the wider world. I know this issue is moot since Rabka has, like a Swiss minaret, been banned but I want to be on the record since it will no doubt come up again. --JGGardiner (talk) 02:09, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Hi-hat Шизомби (talk) 02:59, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Since bringing up the issue a week ago here, I have yet to see any improvement in the lede section adequately describing the article title "Minaret controversy in Switzerland". That there is a controversy is not the argument; rather, it is the collective inability (or inattentiveness) of the Wikipedia community to concicely describe the subject of this article as it is currently titled. According to WP:LEDE, "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies." If the article cannot be tailored to suit the title, then I believe a consensus vote for a page move is entirely appropriate. Steamroller Assault (talk) 04:01, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't see your point. The introductory sentence "The construction of minarets has been subject to legal and political controversy in Switzerland during the 2000s" fully justifies the article title. --dab (𒁳) 13:51, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree. The term controversy is correct. It reflects the pros and cons of legal moves. A debate is by comparison 'merely' the exchange of opinions. Alandeus (talk) 14:31, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
the "controversy" title was picked in 2007, when nobody believed a ban was at all likely. Now there is also a ban, but the controversy obviously persists, and the ban is just a sub-topic of the wider controversy. As it happens, the present revision of the article dedicates most of its content to the ban, under the section of Minaret_controversy_in_Switzerland#Federal_constitutional_amendment_banning_the_construction_of_minarets, but there is no compelling reason why the material should stay arranged in this way. We are still struggling to find a useful article structure, and moving things around before the article structure settles down is just pointless. The opinion expressed above that the controversy is "silly" (a view which I am inclined to share) doesn't alter the fact that there is a controversy. --dab (𒁳) 15:14, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
My argument isn't about the existence of a controversy. I came to this article as a casual reader, and found that after reading the introduction, I was given zero insight as to what the controversy was. In fact, it took a fairly deep reading into the article to be given any information on the subject. Currently, the subject is not defined in the introduction, and there is little context given. Look at the article as a reader unacquainted with the subject would. It could stand some significant improvement. As an example, consider a reader coming to an article on black bears and being given an introduction that pretty much reads "Black bears are bears that are black." That's kind of how this lede statement reads. Steamroller Assault (talk) 15:38, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
At first I didn't see it even with your explanation, but yes, you have a point: It wasn't stated explicitly that anybody was actually opposed to the ban. This is only implicit in the outcome of the referendum. I added the information that the Swiss government saw the amendment as unconstitutional. Perhaps someone else finds a better way of expressing the actual controversy, making it clear without too many words that many organisations opposed the ban. Hans Adler 16:01, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
It seems to me that the article should be titled something along the lines of "Swiss ban on minarets". Yes it's controversial and content reflecting that should be included, but it's not clear to me why the title of the article should include the word "controversy". I'm trying to think of a good comparison to illustrate the titling issue. I think it would be something like retitling the article on segregation to "controversy over segregation" or 2nd Amendment to "controversy over the second amendment". Throwing the word "controversy" in the article's title doesn't seem useful to me. (I have reworded and tweaked this comment to try to make it clearerChildofMidnight (talk) 18:17, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree that it doesn't appear to be critical that "controversy" be a part of the article title, just that the opposing views be addressed within the article. Шизомби (talk) 18:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry, Steamroller Assault, but I have the impression you are being coy. The "controversy" is that some people want to build minarets, and other people try to stop them from building them. This is what we mean by "minarets are controversial". I frankly don't see any other way to interpret the statement. This is the entire "controversy". Everything else comes down to documenting that the controversy exists and is notable. The article lead gives you the information that minarets have been the subject of controversy in Switzerland for about 10 years now. This is an actual piece of information, seeing that minaret were not actually controversial in Switzerland in 1980, or that they aren't controversial in, say, Algeria, even today. This is not the same as a "definition" of "a minaret controversy is a controversy surronding minarets" ("black bears are bears that are black").

This section doesn't serve any evident purpose other than filling the page and wasting people's time. The first post in this section (How is it controversial? Islamic state countries have banned the building of churches for hundreds of years) is obvious trolling. I don't see the point in going out of your way to dig up some possible meaning in a trolling remark.

The suggestion by User:ChildofMidnight amounts to {{split}}ting Swiss ban on minarets from coverage of the wider (pre-ban) controversy. This is a different issue, and a suggestion that may be made independently, independent of the non-starter of throwing the word "controversy" in the article's title doesn't seem useful to me (the word controversy is there because the article discusses a controversy, not just a "ban"). The ban is covered in a single line of text. The controversy is epic. --dab (𒁳) 18:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I fear I have made a huge mistake in addressing my concerns over article structure and naming under this topic, as it appears to have profoundly muddied my argument. I'm truly sorry for that, and if you'd like to reply, feel free to do it under a new section. I'm going to admit that when I came to this article from the front page, I didn't even quite know what a minaret was, let alone how they could be controversial in Switzerland. And after reading the lede statement, I was no better informed on what could possibly make minarets controversial--only that they were so in Switzerland, and to me that is an ineffective introduction. I have absolutely no problem with the title of the article if the controversy can be concisely defined (perhaps a little bit on why they are controversial) in the introduction, and I see that other readers recognize this concern, and one (Hans Adler) has even begun to address it through edits. As it stands, the lede still reads like the introduction to an article titled "Minaret ban in Switzerland", even though the article is about the Minaret controversy in Switzerland. Steamroller Assault (talk) 19:23, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
No need to apologize. You had a concern and that's what the talk page is for. I think you did bring up a good point. We don't do a good job of describing the actual content of the debate. --JGGardiner (talk) 19:30, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I looked through other article titles with the word controversy. Using the word "controversy" in a title seems to be avoided generally unless the subject of the article is the controversy itself. I think that the present title was okay before the ban, but once the ban took place the subject really becomes the ban. Of course the content should cover the controversy around it's proposal and enactment. But it's not a huge deal to me either way as long as redirects make the article accessible to readers. As to broader disputes in Europe of minarets, for now it's probably best to cover them in the minaret article and here as relevant. And also in the Islam in Western Europe article. ChildofMidnight (talk) 18:48, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
intitle:controversy for anyone else that wants to compare. See also Wikipedia:Controversial articles and Wikipedia:Words to avoid#Controversy and scandal. I have perhaps a slight preference not to use it in relation to that last. I don't think "Ban on minarets in Switzerland" or similar bans coverage within regarding controversy before, during or after the passage of the ban, since it all relates to it. Шизомби (talk) 19:44, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
I suppose the most NPOV thing might just be "Minarets in Switzerland". That would be in line with other rights debates on prohibitions like Same-sex marriage in Spain or Women's suffrage in the United States. --JGGardiner (talk) 19:48, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

From "words to avoid":

A controversy is defined as "a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views", but is often used in place of the words scandal and affair, and often by editors with a strong disposition against the article subject.

in other words, "controversy" tends to be used on Wikipedia in places where it should not. This has no bearing on instances where the topic is an actual controversy ("a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views"), as is the case in this article. I still fail to see any point to this section, sorry. --dab (𒁳) 19:55, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree that we should remove the word 'controversy' from the title. I haven't read about demonstrations regarding this law. Remember when cartoons of Mohammed were published and Muslims were howling for jihad? Now thats controversial. Meishern (talk) 02:10, 16 December 2009 (UTC)
Demonstrations or not (although the article itself does have pictures of two demonstrations/protests), the law/ban has clearly been controversial, and so have minarets in Switzerland. As Dbachmann has said, it's worth rememebering this article isn't solely about the law/ban. To put it a different way, do you really think minarets are not controversial in Switzerland given that there have been fears expressed of them being used for calls to prayers and that they themselves resulted in a court case and then eventually a constitutional amendment banning them coming off a election campaign which included posters described as provocative and banned in certain places? Or do you really think that amendment which resulted in appeals to the European Court of Human Rights and which the government feels is inconsistent with the constitution and other parties have argued is inconsistent with various parts of international law and and which has lead to various speculations about 'turret like structures' and chimneys in structures converted to mosques is not 'controversial'? Heck about 2/3 of the article itself is about support and opposition of the law how can that not be a controversy? None of this of course means we need to include the word controversy in the title (personally I feel it's the better option but not strongly enough that I would try to stop its removal if consensus forms), but saying there's no controversy here is IMHO not useful for the discussion. Note that all I mentioned so far is basically from the article. P.S. As to why there's been limited protest in the Muslim world, I don't think it's really that surprising, it's not something that affects them in any real way (making a mockery of one of their holiest figures is obviously a different matter all together) and most likely just serves to reenforce their view that the idea of freedom of religion etc in the West is bullshit. Some of them may even secretly welcome it because if people complain about any bans on churches, synagogue etc, they can just point to Switzerland (this may not be a fair comparison it doesn't mean they can't use it). And just to be clear I'm not inviting debate on these views or even saying I agree with them but I suspect it is one of the results. Nil Einne (talk) 18:44, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Extension to "Minaret controversy in Europe"

A question: If Wilders, Belang and Borghezio are successful in getting any press on their suggestions for similar referendums in Holland, Belgium and Italy respectively (granting they enjoy a snowball's chance in hell of even getting put up for a vote), could this feasibly morph into "Anti-Minaret initiatives in Europe?" or something? --Aryaman (talk) 18:35, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

I would not recommend it. This is obviously not about minarets, but about fears of Islamisation in Western Europe.
This should be treated under Islam in Western Europe, and especially under the article currently under Eurabia (an abysmal troll magnet that needs lots of loving attention, and probably either a move to another title or a merge). --dab (𒁳) 18:44, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, Carinthia and Vorarlberg have both recently adopted measures that are intended to restrict the construction of minarets. So this "controversy" is not unique to any single country. But I don't think it warrants its own article until we have enough content that would overwhelm the more general article(s) which should be the Islam in Europe but I'd probably also include Islamophobia. --JGGardiner (talk) 19:47, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
well, Islamophobia hasn't an European scope, but Eurabia is de facto our article on "Islamophobia in (or in regard to) Europe", so the topic would be at home there. --dab (𒁳) 19:56, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

ok, the reaction to the Swiss referendum has been Europe-wide. This is beginning to take proportions of a European minaret controversy after all. The Swiss referendum appears to have served as a sort of catalyst. We can collect news sources on the European scope of this and eventually this may well grow into an article with a larger scope (or a new super-article to be split off). --dab (𒁳) 10:26, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Further reading and/or External links

Myself and at least one other editor have over the last week or so posted two external links bloth have been deleted by others under WP:ELNO

Mine : The Swiss minaret law and its implications by Matthew Smith (IndigoJo), British Muslim convert, Islamist and blogger.

and the other by an IP editor : Tariq Ramadan on the Swiss 'Minaret Ban': "Islam Is a European Religion"

In the case of the IndigoJo posting, yes he is a blogger, however as I discussed with the editor who fist removed that link : You will see that the author of the blog is notable, the blog in question has been had coverage in The Spectator, Emel magazine and on the BBC to name just three main stream media outlets. It has won an independent award (Winner of the Best European Blog Brass Crescent Awards) two years on the trot (2008 & 9) and is listed in the Quranclub's State of the Muslim Blogosphere Report as being the third oldest active Muslim blog on the internet, so it meets the exception criteria. The blog is also referenced in numerous other Wikipedia articles. It was subsquently deleted by Rama and dispite a dicusssion here as to why it is not appropriate he has not given a fully satisfactory answer. I accept and concede that this one it is not clear cut, and if there had been 5 or 6 other links in the further reading section then I may not have added it.

I had decided it to leave it at that, however when I saw that User:Alandeus removed the second link with the edit summary of no blogs I was at a loss to see why as it does not appear to be a blog (or at least in the traditional sence) and if that is not acceptable then why is : Swiss minaret ban due to more than just xenophobia, an analysis of the vote in the Harvard Law Record. Which if you look is written by Swiss national who currently works in New York and if you look up his his practice areas list them as competition law, as well as banking and financial law.

So my observation and reason for commenting is there appears to be an inconstant approach to what is linked to in the Further reading and External links section of this article - is there a consensus, as I can’t see why the link to the Harvard Law Record is allowed and the one to is not and why the views of a Swiss national who currently works in New York are any more worthy than that of an award winning British Muslim blogger? Codf1977 (talk) 13:01, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

After a quick glance at this link, I believe that it should be removed. The Harward Law Record sounds serious, but the article in question is an editorial, and is advertised as such. Futhermore, there are disturbing elements in it, like qualifying the UDC as "a minor conservative political party" -- the UDC is neither minor nor conservative --, which make me doubt that this can be understood to be authoritative in any way. Rama (talk) 13:33, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Although the reference was perhaps not strictly a blog, it definitely had the form and polemics of an editorial. We'd like refrain of posting a potentially endless list of editorials. The Harvard Law Record is closer to being a sober analysis, yet if it is to "editorial" it may be removed as well. Alandeus (talk) 13:41, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The two links removed and the The Harvard Law Record artical (which is listed by the paper in it's "Opinion" section) are unquestionably "editorial" in nature as they give one persons opinion. The other link in the Further Reading Section (Banning of Minarets: Addressing the Validity of a Controversial Swiss Popular Initiative, by Marcel Stüssi, research fellow at the University of Lucerne.) should also be looked at, as on closer examination it is in breach of the WP:ELREG policy as to get the whole artical you need to pay "$25.00" Codf1977 (talk) 14:00, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

This article doesn't need any links to radical opinion pieces. Neither radical Islamist ones nor radical anti-Islamic ones. There is plenty of mainstream coverage to choose from. --dab (𒁳) 15:12, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

With all due respect that is a very subjective test, one person's radical opinion piece is another's well written and thought provoking editorial. Codf1977 (talk) 17:36, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
In general, I think that the External links/Further reading section (in any Wikipedia article) is primarily for links to reliable sources containing additional factual information about the topic of the article. Thus I would prefer not to see any editorial/opinion pieces (even from mainstream newsmedia) listed there. The basic problem with listing editorial/opinion pieces is that one quickly runs into issues of balance, NPOV, etc, that can easily become quite a quagmire, especially on a controversial topics. Regarding links to blogs, WP:ELNO sums it up fairly well and says that external links to blogs are to be avoided. There is an exception there for blogs written by a recognized authority. I believe that the bar for what constitutes a "recognized authority" is actually pretty high; and even in the cases where this bar is met, I would avoid listing a link to a blog unless there is a particularly compelling reason to list it, e.g. if the blog provides a significant amount of factual info not found in other sources. In this case there is plenty of newscoverage of the topic of this article in traditional media, so I do not see any compelling reason to list any blog links. Also, I have removed a link to the Harvard Law Record opinion piece. Nsk92 (talk) 18:26, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
I disagee with the some of that, I think the Further reading has a much broarder remit than the one you would lend it, I also disagree with your reading of the bar level in WP:ELNO. That said I aceept your point about resulting quagmire, especially on a controversial topics that might follow. Given it's breach of WP:ELREG I will also remove the link to Marcel Stüssi's paper. Codf1977 (talk) 23:15, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Kindly note that the Stüssi thesis is not listed under EL but as published literature. --dab (𒁳) 10:34, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

That might be the case, but WP:ELREG states "Outside of citations, external links to websites that require registration or a paid subscription to view should be avoided" which that link is in breach of. WP:ELREG goes on to say "A site that requires registration or a subscription should not be linked unless the website itself is the topic of the article" since this is not the case I still don't see why it is permited. Codf1977 (talk) 11:45, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

what is your problem? This is a citation. We could also cite it without the link. The presence of the citation does not rely on the presence of the link. --dab (𒁳) 20:55, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

My issue is that of consistency, while I agree Marcel Stüssi is referenced and cited in the body of the article, the paper that is linked to is not directly referenced or cited. If you look at Citation you will see it says "Generally the combination of both the in-body citation and the bibliographic entry constitutes what is commonly thought of as a citation (whereas bibliographic entries by themselves are not)". It is clear to me that this link is, is in fact a bibliographic entry; supporting this concussion is the fact that if you review the history of the article, prior to this edit on the 2 December it was listed under the heading of Bibliography. I still believe the link as currently formatted is in breach of WP:ELREG. Codf1977 (talk) 21:52, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

you can by all means raise concerns as to the relevance of the paper cited. Just as soon as you keep referring to WP:ELREG, which has nothing whatsoever to do with this question, simply because this isn't and has never been about the WP:EL section of this article. --dab (𒁳) 13:10, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

You are misunderstanding what my issue is and what that link is. If the page that was linked to was used as source or reference for a part of the article, then it should be cited and a link to it would be appropriate. Since the page is not referenced, it is there for not possible for if it to be a citation and it follows that any link to it, is, an external link irrespective of where it is in the article.Codf1977 (talk) 18:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)


I posted a link to the analytical piece on this issue January 30, 2010. Feel free to contact me (my email is on our site) if there's any issue with this. Thank you. Lisa Baughn, webmaster, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:02, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I think the consensus was not to have links to opinion pieces and have undone the edit Codf1977 (talk) 07:31, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I see the article as more of a short analytical piece rather than an opinion. Could you please be more specific about why it doesn't meet the criteria? Thank you. -Lisa Baughn —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Any analytical work boils down to the opinion of the author. Secondly you have a Conflict of Interest (WP:COI) as it is on your site, you have an intrest in driving traffic there. For those reasons it should not be listed. Codf1977 (talk) 08:38, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for mentioning the COI. I don't want to chance compromising the integrity of either of our sites. Thank you, Lisa Baughn