The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday urged the Swiss government to be vigilant in its commitment to ensuring freedom of religion, following a Swiss popular referendum that amended its constitution to ban the construction of minarets.
ADL National Chair Robert G. Sugarman and ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement saying, "On November 29, the Swiss Muslim community fell victim to a populist political campaign of religious intolerance, led by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP). The Swiss government opposed the initiative during the campaign and underscored its commitment to religious freedom in a statement after the vote.
In the statement, the Jewish group urged the Swiss government "to be vigilant in its defense of religious freedom, even though the SVP is the largest party in the Swiss Parliament and has two of the seven government ministries.
"The Federation of Swiss Jewish Communities (FSJC) clearly stated its opposition to the initiative before the vote and expressed its disappointment at the result," the statement added.
According to ADL, "This is not the first time a Swiss popular vote has been used to promote religious intolerance. A century ago, a Swiss referendum banned Jewish ritual slaughter in an attempt to drive out its Jewish population. We share the FSJC’s stated concern that those who initiated the anti-minaret campaign could try to further erode religious freedom through similar means."