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First impact of minaret ban felt

Muslims in the eastern town of Wil will not apply to build a minaret for their planned Islamic centre, after Sunday's anti-minaret vote.

Hisham Maizar, chairman of the umbrella organisation of the Muslim community of eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein, told German-language radio on Monday that the town's Islamic association had taken the decision of the Swiss people into account.

The association would not pursue the matter in the courts, he said.

The announcement of the project in 2006 had sparked a flurry of protest in the area.

However, the situation in Langenthal in canton Bern is less clear. Muslims had been given planning permission for a minaret, but an appeal against it by opponents is still pending.

The minaret opponents say Sunday's vote puts an end to the proceedings, and Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has also said that the minaret cannot now be built.

However, a lawyer for the Muslim community said they were ready to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

He said that under Bernese law, applications are to be judged according to the legislation in force when they were submitted – in this case three years ago. and agencies


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