Disputed minaret near Olten inaugurated

A controversial minaret has been inaugurated at a mosque in the town of Wangen near Olten.

This content was published on June 27, 2009 minutes

Organisers said about 1,000 people took part in Saturday's festivities which took place despite a boycott by several official representatives concerned over a rise in Islamic extremism.

The president of the local Turkish culture association, Mustapha Karahan, said the minaret would promote mutual respect between Christians and Muslims.

A Methodist pastor called on Christians and Muslims to join forces to defend freedom of religion, while a centre-left politician described the minaret as a symbol of integration.

However, a senior official from federal and cantonal authorities refused to take part in the ceremony because of a controversial flag displayed at the mosque.

The construction of the minaret at Wangen took more than four years and prompted rightwing political parties to propose a nationwide ban on minarets. But no date has yet been set for the ballot.

There are currently four minarets in Switzerland, including Geneva, Zurich and Winterthur.

Plans for a minaret at Langenthal are still pending. with agencies

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