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More Swiss against minarets, says poll

The majority of Swiss are not in favour of building minarets on new mosques, according to a new opinion poll published on Thursday.

The Lausanne-based MIS Trend market research institute said 46 per cent of people questioned were against the presence of minarets, while 39 per cent were in favour and 15 per cent were undecided. The issue will go to a nationwide vote on November 29.

The poll asked the following question: "If a new mosque is built in Switzerland, would you be for or against the presence of minarets?"

There were differences between German- and French-speaking regions, where 48 per cent and 38 per cent respectively said "no" to minarets. Voters on the left of the political spectrum were mainly supporters (63 per cent), unlike those on the right (69 per cent against).

The first official poll on the issue by the leading gfs.berne polling and research institute at the end of October found 53 per cent of Swiss rejected the anti-minaret initiative.

The new survey covered other issues relating to Muslims in Switzerland. Some 68 per cent of people felt you could be both a "true Swiss" and Muslim, and 51 per cent said the Muslim faith was compatible with the values of Swiss democracy.

Fifty per cent of people said a headscarf should not be worn in the classroom, while a small majority said Muslim women should be allowed to wear a headscarf at work. The vast majority (85 per cent) felt Muslim students should not be exempted from swimming lessons and 74 per cent said the Swiss state should not be involved in training imams.

"Basically, these results are very reasonable – very Swiss," Marie-Hélène Miauton, director of MIS Trend told the French-language 24Heures newspaper. "The message is basically that Muslims are free to live their faith but they have to integrate."

The Lausanne institute, commissioned by 24Heures newspaper, polled 1,004 people aged 18-74 in both French- and German-speaking regions. It includes people who are not eligible to vote. and agencies


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