Source: The Independent
The normally sleepy Swiss country town of Langenthal has become the focus of a virulent right-wing campaign to ban minarets from all mosques in the Alpine republic on the grounds that they symbolise ideological opposition to the country's constitution.
Switzerland's "stop minaret" movement is backed by the influential ultra-conservative Swiss People's Party, (SVP) which was re-elected in 2007 with its largest ever share of the vote after mounting an anti-foreigner campaign that was denounced by the United Nations as racist.
Ulrich Schüler, an SVP parliamentarian and leading member of the anti-minaret movement, says the edifices are political rather than religious. "They are symbols of a desire for power, of an Islam which wants to establish a legal and social order fundamentally contrary to the liberties guaranteed in our constitution," he said.