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Gaddafi says minaret vote is gift to al-Qaida

Switzerland did a favour to al-Qaida by voting to ban minarets, according to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

The vote gave the terrorists an “argument” to attack Europe, Gaddafi said in a ceremony at a religious faculty outside the capital, Tripoli.

“Activists will now say: We warned you that they are our enemies… Look what they are doing in Europe. Join al-Qaida and proclaim jihad against Europe,” the official Libyan news agency quoted him as saying.

Gaddafi added that the vote gave Muslim countries a reason to forbid the building of churches.

He described Switzerland as the “mafia of the world” and said there had already been a “boycott call”, but he gave no details.

Relations between Libya and Switzerland have been tense since a son of the Libyan leader was briefly detained in Geneva in 2008, accused of mistreating two servants.

Since then, Libya has taken a number of measures against Switzerland. Last week two Swiss businessmen, who had been prevented from leaving the country for more than a year, were sentenced to 16 months in jail for visa violations.

swissinfo and agencies