- Turkey calls on Muslims to withdraw money from Swiss banks
- Swiss minaret ban prompts global repercussions
- Swiss ban on minarets sparks international controversy
- Switzerland bans minarets, could face Strasbourg court
Switzerland's ban on the construction of minarets is a present to Al Qaeda and all those the West considers Islamist terrorists, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi said Sunday.
The Alpine country held a nationwide referendum November 29, one of the three questions being whether to allow the building of new minarets - towers on mosques from where Muslims are called to prayer. 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).
"In Switzerland's actions, Al Qaeda found a confirmation to its assertions that Europe is an enemy sowing hatred who should be fought against until victory," Qaddafi said when speaking in a Libyan Islamic university.
He called on Western countries to "think and take into account" their "economic interests in the Islamic world."
"You need oil, gas, ports, you need seas, solar energy, investment. [You must] think before making such careless decisions," he said.
Prior to the referendum, the Swiss government and parliament had spoken against the initiative to ban the minarets, but were forced to accept the popular vote. Switzerland has 400,000 Muslims out of a total population of 7.7 million.
The decision has been condemned by Muslims and their supporters worldwide although the Swiss government said after the vote that construction of mosques was allowed and that "Muslims in Switzerland are able to practice their religion alone or in community with others, and live according to their beliefs just as before."
SVP said minarets were rather political symbols than religious ones and called to prevent "political Islam" from gaining ground in Switzerland.
A senior Turkish minister has said Muslims should withdraw their money from Swiss banks in protest against the vote.
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.
In 2005, the publication by a Danish paper of a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests in Muslim nations and a boycott of Danish products.
CAIRO, December 6 (RIA Novosti)
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