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Anti-minaret groups launch "censored" poster

The committee for the initiative to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland has launched its official campaign in Bern.

Following the controversy caused by its initial poster – which has been banned in several Swiss towns – it said it planned to produce a second poster with the word "censored" spread across the Swiss flag.

Basel, Fribourg, Lausanne and Neuchâtel, among others, have forbidden the display in publicly owned spaces of the poster – which shows a woman wrapped in a burka standing next to a Swiss flag dotted with minarets – because they regard it as discriminatory. Other towns, including Zurich and Geneva, have permitted it.

The anti-minaret initiative, which goes to a public vote on November 29, was proposed by members of the rightwing Swiss People's Party and a small ultra-conservative Christian party to counter what they describe as "creeping Islamicisation".

This, they say, includes the repression of women, such as forced marriages, and the spread of sharia law and parallel Islamic societies within Switzerland.

The government strongly opposes the initiative and has launched its own campaign against it.

Thursday's launch comes two days after seven political parties, including three of the four represented in government, announced their own campaign against the initiative.

The cross-party campaign, an alliance of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, the Radicals, the Greens and three small parties, says the initiative is an unnecessary, unlawful provocation that endangers peaceful religious and cultural co-existence. and agencies


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