Minaret gets final approval for construction

Plans for the minaret were opposed by local residents Keystone

Canton Bern has confirmed that a minaret may be built in the town of Langenthal, although legislation now exists that bans their construction throughout Switzerland.

This content was published on September 21, 2010 - 15:53 and agencies

The canton published its decision on Tuesday, arguing that local authorities had granted planning permission for the minaret in June last year, five months before a controversial nationwide vote rejecting them.

The appeal by neighbours of an Islamic centre in Langenthal was also rejected because the minaret and its crown conformed to plans.

Although confirming the construction, the cantonal authorities turned down permission to renovate and expand the centre.

They said there was not enough space for parking and traffic regulations were inadequate.

A spokesman for the centre said he was satisfied with the building decision but unhappy about rejection of the expansion plans. He said the community would consider further steps.

Switzerland has four minarets: in Geneva, Zurich, Winterthur and Wangen bei Olten. In last year’s nationwide vote 57 per cent of voters backed a ban on building new minarets.

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