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Proposal championed by right-wing parties to ban minarets in Switzerland goes to a nationwide vote on Sunday; latest polls show 37% in support of the ban.
Tuesday, December 1,2009 12:47

-Proposal championed by right-wing parties to ban minarets in Switzerland goes to a nationwide vote on Sunday; latest polls show 37% in support of the ban.


-Campaign featured inflammatory posters showing minarets rising like missiles from the national flag; Swiss Muslims kept low profile, inviting population to visit mosques.


-Geneva Mosque was vandalized Thursday by unidentified individuals who threw paint at the building's entrance.


-The referendum provoked an emotional debate about national identity and stirred fears of boycotts; business leaders say a minaret ban would be disastrous for the Swiss economy, driving away Muslims use Swiss banks and buy the country's luxury goods.


Experts available for comment:


Jean-Claude Basset is a Protestant Minister in Geneva and Head of the Protestant Study Center since 1980. He has been a Minister in Tehran and Djibouti and teaches theology at the University of Lausanne. He also taught in Strasbourg, Bangalore and Harvard. He has been promoting interreligious dialogue for the past ten years, in particular in the context of the Geneva Interreligious Platform.

LOCATION: Geneva, Switzerland

CONTACT DIRECTLY: [email protected]


Dalia Mogahed is Senior Analyst and Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, and leads the analysis of Gallup's unprecedented survey representing the views and opinions of more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide, including Muslims in the West. In addition to her work with Gallup, Ms. Mogahed directs the Muslim-West Facts Initiative. Through this initiative, Gallup, in collaboration with the Coexist Foundation, disseminates the findings of the Gallup World Poll to key opinion leaders in the Muslim World and the West.

LOCATION: Washington, DC

CONTACT DIRECTLY: [email protected]


Riem Spielhaus is a German researcher in the field of Islamic studies, and teaches at the South Asian department of the Institute for Asian and African studies at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin. Her main field of expertise concerns Muslim communities in Germany and Europe. She is a member of several working groups established by the German government and civic organizations including the Islamforum of Berlin and the German Islam Conference of the Federal Ministry for Interior Affairs.

LOCATION: Berlin, Germany

CONTACT DIRECTLY: [email protected]


Famile Arslan works as lawyer in The Hague for her own law firm called Arslan Lawyers. Her work is in the field of family law, immigration law, housing and labor and social insurance cases as penalty cases. She is the first lawyer in the Netherlands who wears a hijab. Besides her daily job, she is a member of the board of the Islam and Citizenship Foundation which has been engaged in the relationship between norms, values and citizenship and the role Islamic organizations can play in this issue.

LOCATION: The Hague, Netherlands

CONTACT DIRECTLY: [email protected]


For additional support on this story and expert connections:

Dex Torricke-Barton: [email protected]; +1 917-514-5894

OR Emmanuel Kattan: [email protected]; +1 917-238-2043


Global Expert Finder is a resource that provides journalists with fast, free, direct access to expert voices on issues that go to the core of relations between cultures, and threaten to widen existing divides. Global Expert Finder is a project of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.




tags: Switzerland / Muslim Studies / Islamic Studies / The South Asia / immigration law / Islam / Minaret / Islamophobia / Anti-Islam / Anti-Muslims / Minaret
Posted in Democracy , Human Rights , Islamic Issues  
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