“American Muslims Fear for European Counterparts” by Karin Kamp

Switzerland’s decision to ban minarets has sparked outrage by Muslim-Americans who have called the vote “xenophobic and bigoted.”

The Swiss minaret ban, agreed by voters on Sunday, heightens a general concern by Muslims in the United States about the challenges faced by Muslims living in Europe. “Our fear is that the ban is going to further alienate a growing population of Muslims in Europe,” said Faiza Ali of The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a leading Muslim-American group.

Ali cited other examples of challenges faced by European Muslims, including French resistance to burkas worn by some Muslim women, and opposition in parts of Europe to Turkish membership in the European Union.

Besides national papers, such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, a number of local newspapers have also denounced the decision. The New York Daily News, called the Swiss vote “utterly idiotic” adding that “passing laws that target Muslims for being Muslims is not part of any clash of civilizations, it is a failure of one”.

The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy said in a statement that the decision is of “great concern”, calling it part of a “disturbing trend in significant parts of Europe to restrict the religious freedom and self-expression of religious and ethnic minorities, notably of Muslims”.

At the same time, CSID credited the Swiss government for its stance against the proposal.

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