Swiss radical right sparks anger with anti-Muslim
SWITZERLAND is almost as renowned for its right-wing
politics as it is for its mountains, cheese and
But now its most radical party of the right has
outraged anti-racism groups and Muslim communities by
painting a future of the country with a Muslim
majority by 2040 in a campaign against a ballot to
relax immigration laws.
The anti-Muslim adverts, with the hard-hitting title
"Muslims soon the majority", have been posted in
newspapers by the right-wing group Committee against
The controversial adverts caused outrage as they were
published less than three weeks before the country is
due to vote on easing restrictions on Swiss
citizenship for second and third generation
The adverts claim that the number of Muslims in
Switzerland is doubling every 10 years and by 2040
they would make up 72% of the population.
The right-wing Peoples Party, which controls among
others the Justice Ministry, has been linked to the
Committee against Mass Naturalisations, but denies
reports that it finances the group.
Peoples Party spokesman Roman Jaeggi said: "We do not
have any official connections with the committee, but
we do think the advert is positive because its
important to inform the population ahead of the vote
on September 26. Its helping us in our campaign."
The party has carried out its own controversial
campaign to win support against the upcoming
referendum. Leaflets handed out around the country
show a box full of Swiss passports and coloured hands
trying to grab them.
Last year the party launched a similar campaign to
persuade voters to block the recognition of Islam as
an official Swiss religion. It warned that
contributions made to all recognised religions by the
state would be used by Muslims to set up Koran schools
where fundamentalism would be taught.
At that time party literature showed a montage of
Zurichs famous Grossmünster, or Great Munster, church
with its tower replaced by a minaret and the words
"its a question of time".
Gioia Weber from the Federal Commission against Racism
criticised the campaign.
"Its surely not advisable to publish false
allegations like those which say that Koran schools
would be financed by taxpayers money. Tarring whole
sections of society with the same brush borders on
discrimination; its unfair," she said.
But despite heavy criticism, anti-racism groups are
doing little to stop the adverts, and even the Muslim
community have said they are not going to make a
formal complaint against the latest adverts, although
they do admit to being "hurt" by the campaign.
Muslims currently make up 4.3% of the population, with
Catholics still being the largest religious group at
42%, followed by Protestants, 35.2%, Orthodox, 1.8%,
Jews, 0.2% and other religions 5.5%. Eleven per cent
of Swiss say they have no religious affiliation.
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