- Swiss ban on minarets sparks international controversy
- Switzerland bans minarets, could face Strasbourg court
Muslims should withdraw their money from Swiss banks in protest at a recent vote in favor of banning minarets in the country, a senior Turkish minister has said.
"I am certain this will prompt our brothers from Muslim countries who keep their money and investments in Swiss banks to review their decision," Hurriyet daily quoted Turkish State Minister Egemen Bagis as saying.
"The doors of the Turkish banking sector... are always open to them," he added.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called the ban "shameful."
Switzerland annually earns over $10 billion from business with Muslim countries. Around 170,000 people from the Gulf visit the country every year. Analysts predict the ban could cause an outflow of Arab investment from Switzerland.
The Alpine country held a nationwide referendum on Sunday, one of the three questions being whether to allow the building of new minarets. A total of 57.5% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons backed the proposal, put forward by the rightist Swiss People's Party (SVP).
Surprisingly, only 37% of Swiss voters had been reported ready to back the ban on new minarets just before the referendum, while 53% said they would vote against it.
The government and parliament had spoken against the initiative, but were forced to accept the popular vote. Switzerland has 400,000 Muslims out of a total population of 7.7 million.
In 2005, a publication by the Danish Jyllands-Posten paper of a series of 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests in Muslim nations and a boycott of Danish products, which stripped the country of $1.2 billion worth of trade with Muslim countries.
ANKARA, December 2 (RIA Novosti)
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