Following criticism from Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger concerning the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Switzerland and Libya, Swiss Federal President Doris Leuthard has retorted that Switzerland simply expects solidarity from other members of the Schengen zone, as it is a member itself. Leuthard also defended the Swiss minaret ban as sign that the Swiss people wish for the country’s Christian heritage and local rules to be respected, while at the same time she vehemently denied that Switzerland was hostile to Islam, and emphasized that the ban did not affect religious freedom. Moreover, she highlighted that Switzerland continues to be an open country with one of the largest populations of foreigners in Europe, which in general is well integrated, and its openness continues to be one of the reasons for its continuing positive economic performance.

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