The Swiss Bishops Conference is against a controversial rightwing proposal to ban minarets - an issue that will go to nationwide vote on November 29.This content was published on September 10, 2009 - 11:41
In a statement, the conference said that like church steeples, minarets marked a religion's presence in the public domain.
The bishops said that a ban would hinder interreligious dialogue and added that the construction and operation of minarets were already regulated by Swiss building codes.
The initiative to ban minarets was launched by the rightwing Swiss People's Party and a small ultra-conservative Christian party last year. Supporters see minarets as political symbols and as a sign of what they term "Islamisation" in Switzerland.
"As bishops and Swiss citizens, we are pleased that there are no longer any special articles relating to religion in the constitution. No new ones should be introduced," the bishops' statement added.
"Our request for the initiative to be rejected is based on our Christian values and the democratic principles in our country."
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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