A week after Switzerland voted to ban the construction of minarets, in an apparent act of defiance, a new minaret unexpectedly sprang up in Bussigny, a small town near Geneva. But the new minaret is not attached to a mosque; Bussigny doesn’t even have one. And it’s not the work of a local Muslim outraged by Switzerland’s controversial vote to ban the structures, which often are used to launch the call to prayer.
Instead, Bussigny’s minaret is attached to the warehouse of a shoe store called Pomp It Up, which is part of a Swiss chain. It was erected by the chain’s owner, Guillaume Morand, who had an architect fashion it out of plastic and wood and attach it to a chimney. The new minaret, nearly 20 feet high and illuminated at night, is clearly visible from the main highway connecting Lausanne and Geneva.
“The referendum was a scandal,” Mr. Morand said recently. “I was ashamed to be Swiss. I don’t have the power to do much, but I wanted to give a message of peace to Muslims.”