Swiss referendum ‘reflects unease with Islam’

December 1, 2009 at 7:37 am | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

As a Swiss referendum backs a ban on the building of minarets, the BBC’s Islamic affairs analyst Roger Hardy looks at the often uneasy relationship between Islam and Europe.

Swiss People's Party poster against minarets

But it is not just in Switzerland that the presence of growing Muslim communities has polarised opinion.

Since the attacks of 9/11 in the United States, and the bombings in Madrid and London, Muslims have often been regarded as a security threat.

For governments anxious to maintain social harmony at home and good relations with Muslim governments abroad, this poses a set of difficult dilemmas.

And for many of the estimated 15 million Muslims in Western Europe, the Swiss vote will be seen as one more sign that – whatever governments may say – they are simply not welcome.

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