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Couchepin opposes anti-minaret poster ban

Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin has come out against banning the controversial anti-minaret poster said by a Swiss anti-racism body to incite hatred.

"It's certainly unnecessarily aggressive but that is not a reason to ban it," Couchepin told Swiss public radio. "People are capable of judging for themselves."

The poster shows a woman covered in a black burka in front of a Swiss flag with minarets dotted around it and the caption "Stop".

The drive to ban minarets has been launched by the rightwing Swiss People's Party and a small ultra-conservative Christian party. The issue comes to a nationwide vote on November 29.

Couchepin said he would like to see opponents of the initiative play a more active role.

"The initiative is very dangerous for Swiss society. The government should also make more of an effort," added Couchepin, who is due to resign at the end of the month.

Last week, Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger called in his blog for the poster to be banned.

The Federal Commission against Racism said the People's Party's anti-minaret poster incited hatred while members of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Committee have said it should be banned under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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