Switzerland votes to prohibit the building of mosque minarets -- The latest sign of a backlash against Muslim immigrants in Western Europe
A poster of the conservative initiative
From The Washington Post:
Voters in Switzerland decided Sunday to ban the building of minarets, in a referendum that showed an unexpected level of resentment against Muslim immigrants in a country long known for discretion and tolerance.
Opinion polls in recent months had indicated that a majority of voters would reject the measure, fearful of an impact on the country's reputation and ability to do business in the Muslim world. But official results on Sunday showed a surprisingly strong 57.5 percent of those voting endorsed it, against 42.5 percent who opposed.
The ballot was the latest sign of a backlash against Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, where Christian voters appear increasingly eager to preserve their traditional ways in the face of expanded Muslim populations.
The Wall Street Journal has an article that has a quote utilizing a couple of adjectives:
[T]he Organization of the Islamic Conference, the biggest Muslim group with 57 member states, called the vote a "recent example of growing anti-Islamic incitements in Europe by extremist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist, scare-mongering ultra-right politicians who reign over common sense, wisdom and universal values."
The Swiss government, which waged an aggressive campaign against the initiative, has feared a backlash similar to that suffered by Denmark several years ago after the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.
A number of Swiss companies, such as engineering group ABB Ltd and food maker Nestle SA, have large interests in Muslim countries. For instance, food maker Nestle SA has about 50 factories in the Muslim world and is the world's largest producer of halal food, or food permissible under Islamic law. Nestle has recently begun expanding its halal business in Europe, targeting the Continent's growing Muslim population.
"Nestlé cannot be associated with any form of discrimination," the company said in a statement.