It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Minarets are tall spires typically built next to mosques where religious leaders call the faithful to prayer. More than 310,000 among Switzerland's 7.5 million population are Muslims, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
The Swiss government is extremely nervous about the prospect of militancy among Swiss Muslims; three cabinet ministers have already spoken out against the campaign to ban minarets. There is also a growing fear that the debate will damage Switzerland's traditionally good relations with the Arab world.
But the Swiss People's Party is powerful. If the minaret campaign is, as some suspect, a vote-grabbing ploy ahead of October's general election, then it is a successful one; the party is riding high in the opinion polls.
A constitutional amendment forbidding minarets will have to be approved in a nationwide referendum. In the meantime, no minarets are being built anywhere in Switzerland; the controversy has created a situation in which no local planning officer wants to be the first to approve one. In that respect, the People's Party may have got what it secretly wanted all along, an unofficial ban on minarets