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Minarets Banned As Swiss Back Far-Right
Breaking news from Sky News
Switzerland has backed far-right calls to ban the building of new minarets, official referendum results have revealed.
Switzerland's biggest party, the Swiss People's Party (SVP), claims the turrets attached to mosques are symbols of militant Islam.
The anti-immigration SVP party believes the spires from where followers of Islam are called to prayer demonstrate a "political-religious claim to power".
It forced a referendum on whether or not minarets should be banned after collecting 100,000 signatures from eligible voters within 18 months.
Over 57% of Swiss voters chose to approve a blanket ban on the construction of Muslim minarets, according to official results posted by Swiss news agency ATS.
Partial results from the poll indicate the German-speaking region of Lucerne accepted the ban, while French-speaking areas Geneva and Vaud voted against.
Taner Hatipoglu, president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Zurich, said: "The initiators have achieved something everyone wanted to prevent, and that is to influence and change the relations to Muslims and their social integration in a negative way."
Mr Hatipoglu said if in the long term the anti-Islam atmosphere continues "Muslims indeed will not feel safe anymore".
Aljazeera is shocked!