Seven political parties, including three of the four represented in government, have launched a campaign against an initiative to ban minarets in Switzerland.
The cross-party campaign, an alliance of the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats, the Radicals, the Greens and three small parties, says the initiative is an unnecessary, unlawful provocation that endangers peaceful religious and cultural co-existence.
A spokesman for the group said the anti-minaret initiative, which goes to a public vote on November 29, "fuels mutual distrust instead of addressing the issue of the integration of the Muslim population".
Also on Tuesday, ten Church-affiliated and charitable organisations voiced their opposition to the initiative, saying it went against Christian and Swiss democratic values and discriminated against Muslims. A joint statement was issued by organisations including Caritas, Bread for All, and the interfaith working group of Switzerland.
The anti-minaret initiative was proposed by members of the rightwing Swiss People's Party and a small ultra-conservative Christian party, to counter what they describe as "creeping Islamicisation". The government strongly opposes the initiative, and has launched its own campaign against it.
swissinfo.ch and agencies