Statement on the referendum of the Swiss people to ban the construction of Minarets

Praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the worlds, may the blessings and peace be upon our master Muḥammad, the last of prophets, on his family, and all his companions.

The Secretariat of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jeddah has followed with great concern and indignation, the demand for the banning of minarets in the Swiss Confederation, following the pressure and follow-up of some extremist parties in this country.

The Secretariat of the Academy, in view of its scientific weight and wide representation of the scholars of the Ummah, and as a prime jurisprudential reference, strongly denouncing the subjugation of the inalienable human rights, established in the monotheistic religions and in the international charters and resolutions. It strongly condemns any tendency that undermines the human and religious rights of Muslims, especially the tendency to prohibit the construction of minarets in mosques, and considers it a disgrace for a country that has always boasted of brandishing the slogans of democracy, justice, freedom and equality.

The Ummah was surprised to submit the issue of banning the construction of minarets to a referendum of the Swiss people, and the results thereof, and it was even more surprised, that this happened at a time when nations and civilizations are joining their efforts, to build bridges of cooperation and dialogue, for peaceful coexistence, many countries, Islamic bodies and Muslim scholars have made great strides, in clarifying the indulgence of Islam and presenting its great foundations and principles of peaceful coexistence and openness to the other, through conferences on dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures, held in several European countries, including the Swiss Confederation itself, which hosted a distinguished meeting, under the generous patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, may Allah protect him.

In fact, peaceful coexistence, which is a pressing requirement of this era, was not an innovation in international human relations, resulting from the signing of international treaties and pacts, drawn up under the aegis of the United Nations. Indeed, Islamic law (Sharia), carried by the Messenger of Allah, Mohamed (praise and peace of Allah be upon him), 15 centuries ago, established great principles and rules for the peaceful coexistence of all human beings, based on doctrinal rules, and a deep-rooted faith, thus He also considered that all creatures are the creation of Allah, and they are of the same origin, whose relationship between them is based on knowledge, love, cooperation and peace: « O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. » Al-Hujurat -13

Allah the Almighty says: « Say, “O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you – that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].” » Aal-i-Imran -64

and He says: « And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds. » Al-Anbiya -107, this was the basis for a distinct regime in international relations in times of peace and war.

Therefore, Muslims have ensured, since the establishment of their first state in Madinah, peaceful coexistence and positive engagement with other religions, cultures, civilizations and other peoples, they have thus provided an excellent example of charity and justice with other nations and peoples, who have lived under the regime of Islamic States or dealt with this state, friends have welcomed these attitudes and enemies have respected them.

Considering the fact that the Islamic presence is nowadays extensive and widespread globally, Muslims are keen on a good coexistence and positive integration, based on constructive cooperation and active participation for the stability and progress of the societies in which they live, through their commitment to the right path, which the Holy Qur’an has guided them, as well as following the path of the pious predecessors.

The Secretariat of the Academy, while strongly insisting on the need to respect the prohibition of putting such issues to referendum and vote, as well as the attempts to prohibit and annul them, expects those in the Swiss Confederation who took action that have led to the results of the referendum not being taken into account, and this for the following elements:

1- The ban on building minarets violates and confiscates the fundamental and religious rights of the Swiss Muslim citizens, and arouses hatred against them, and prevents his positive integration into the Swiss society, which gives the impression that it is an attempt to restore the era of the Inquisitions, centuries ago in Europe, which waged a merciless war against Muslims, in this hateful and despicable manner, which threatens the security and stability of contemporary human society.

2- The result of this referendum is directed against the Muslims who represent a quarter of the world’s population, and they hold a large part of the capital deposited in the banks of the Swiss Confederation, given the sense of security, safety, freedom and democracy enjoyed by this Union. The results of the referendum banning the construction of minarets gave rise to many calls in the Islamic world calling for the boycott of the financial and commercial institutions of the Swiss Confederation, and the transfer of money to other countries, and other calls for the severance of political relations between Muslim countries and the Swiss Confederation, as long as the majority of the Swiss people reject the religious rights of the Swiss Muslim citizen, and it is clear of course that these calls will be heard in many Arab and Islamic states, if this ban is pursued and enforced. The Secretariat of the Academy recalls, in this regard, the economic and political repercussions that followed the crisis of the blasphemous caricatures of our Prophet Mohamed, PBUG, which were published in Denmark, and affected those who had no connection with this issue.

3- Peaceful coexistence can only be achieved among the countries and peoples of the world with respect for religious and cultural diversity. Thus, hostility to the culture of any nation and the attempt to erase its characteristics, to suppress its identity, to offend its beliefs, or to undermine its sanctity causes conflicts and undermines trust, harms relations and peaceful coexistence among nations, and could lead to confrontation, because people in today’s world no longer accept the culture of exclusion of the other, especially after countries and nations have signed international charters and covenants on human rights, and the creation of organizations and bodies to preserve them and protect their implementation. Therefore, the voices calling for more sedition, must be silenced, these are the voices that rise, here and there in Europe, to call for the banning of the veil, Islamic cemeteries, even the construction of mosques, and mock and ridicule Islamic rituals, principles and facts of Islam, through a frantic campaign, in what is coined as islamophobia

(4) The differentiation in the states’ laws concerning the prohibition and the authorization, between the minarets of the mosques, and the towers of the churches and temples, presage an extremism provoked by racism and hatred, which the monotheistic religions and the international relations renounce. In this regard, the Academy would like to commend the honorable positions that have opposed this referendum and its results, which many Western countries, organizations and institutions have adopted, among them the Swiss government, the Vatican and Amnesty International, and the constructive positions expressed by churches, cathedrals and temples, which have deplored and denounced this referendum and its results. Among the positions that deserve to be welcomed is that of the Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Micheline Calmy-Rey, who, in describing the methods used in the referendum, said: (The discussion that took place on this subject was not honest, and I mentioned that the authorities responsible for the referendum used lies and fear, and gave the impression that hundreds of minarets will be built in Switzerland). All of this is for the purpose of intimidation and malicious and tendentious provocation in order to satisfy suspicious whims and poisonous desires. If it is well known that the number of minarets in Switzerland, at present, does not exceed four, the Swiss Government is now obliged to confirm its objectivity and to fulfil its duty, to take the necessary practical measures, to put an end to these bad practices and to prevent any repercussions or their application in practice. The Academy, which stands by the Muslims of the Swiss Confederation in their cause, reminds them of their duty to be patient and to take the various ways available and in accordance with the constitution, to preserve their Islamic identity and existence, to defend their religious, civilizational and cultural particularities, and to intensify efforts to obtain their religious rights and to seek solutions in accordance with Sharia and that are suitable for their situation, and informs them that the requirements of citizenship in the West are not incompatible with preserving the Islamic identity and attachment to the values of Islam. The Academy also calls on them to preserve their Islamic principles and to be models of civilization that represent Islam in their behavior and relations with others.

The Secretariat of the Academy calls upon the Swiss Confederation to solve this problem as soon as possible, defusing this sedition with wisdom and desire, and not to subject these principles, which are well established in human society, to a referendum and declarations controlled by narrow whims and limited interests, given the importance of the mosque minaret for Muslims, as it teaches about the mosque that all Muslims have the right to go to, to perform the rituals of their religion.

The Secretariat of the Academy also hopes that the Swiss government in particular, and Western governments in general, will take a firm stand against parties and individuals who seek to sow discord and sedition between citizens of the same country, and between nations and peoples, and that this be done within the framework of a rational international movement against religious discrimination and hateful intolerance, warning them and limiting their role in the media, politically and socially, before they lead the country and the people into forms of violence and extremism with undesirable consequences.

Prof. Abdulsalam Al-Abbadi


Go to Top