Switzerland: The European Court rejects two appeals against the prohibition of minarets

Source: FSSPX News

The European Court of Human Rights (CEDH) declared “inadmissible” two petitions to appeal filed by Muslims in the matter of the prohibition against building minarets in Switzerland.  According to the judges, the petitioners cannot claim to be “victims” of a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, the CEDH noted in a communiqué dated July 8, 2011.

On July 8, 2008, a popular initiative, “Ban the construction of minarets”, together with 113,540 signatures of Swiss citizens, was submitted to the Federal Chancery for the purpose of recommending a partial revision of the Swiss Constitution.  Supported by the UDC party and the small Christian party UDF, it was approved on November 29, 2009, by 57.5% of the voters.  On December 12, 2009, the Federal Assembly approved a federal decree stipulating that “the construction of minarets is forbidden.”  (Cf. DICI no. 207 dated December 19, 2009.)

On December 16, 2009, applications to appeal had been filed with the CEDH by Hafid Ouardiri [Wardiri], former spokesman of the mosque in Geneva and co-president of the Foundation for Interreligious/Intercultural Knowledge, and also by three Swiss legal associations and one foundation:  the League of Swiss Muslims, based in Prilly, the Muslim Community of Geneva, the Cultural Association of Muslims in Neuchâtel and the Genevan Association of Muslims.  These groups alleged that the prohibition against building minarets constituted a “violation of religious freedom and a form of discrimination because of religion”.

However, “the Court notes that the purpose of the petitioning associations is not to build mosques with minarets, nor do they allege that they have the intention of erecting such buildings in the future.”

Therefore the seven judges in Strasbourg declared that the petitioners were essentially complaining that this modification of the Constitution “offends their religious convictions, but do not allege that it has had any concrete effect whatsoever with regard to them”.  And given that this decision has no concrete effect with regard to them, since they adduce no evidence that anyone has begun to apply this constitutional ban on the construction of minarets, they are therefore “not directly victims of a violation of the Convention”.

The judges also recalled the fact that the petitioners are not indirect victims either, nor potential victims.  “For these reasons, the majority of the Court declares the petition inadmissible.”  (Sources: apic/letelegramme/cedh - DICI no.239 dated August 13, 2011)