The BNP and other far-right parties across Europe have called for referendums on minarets after the Swiss banned the construction of the Muslim symbol
Anti-immigration movements in Belgium, Denmark, Italy and The Netherlands have also urged their governments to debate similar measures. But the UN and human rights groups condemned the move as illegal and claimed it was the equivalent to banning spires on churches.
The BNP said it was ‘very pleased’ with the Swiss vote.
‘These sort of referendums should be allowed to take place on issues such as the death penalty for child murderers, minarets and mass immigration,’ said a spokesman.
Italian cabinet minister and ally of Silvio Berlusconi, Roberto Calderoli, of the xenophobic Northern League, yesterday said the country should confirm its Roman Catholic roots and hold a vote as soon as possible. The Swiss decision was a triumphant ‘yes to bell towers and no to minarets’, he added.
Amnesty International said it was ‘deeply worrying if Europe’s far-right parties seized upon’ the Swiss result. A spokesman for the Islamic Human Rights Commission said calls in more countries for referendums ‘could give more voice’ to anti-Muslim sentiment.