GENEVA - The European Court of Human Rights yesterday dismissed a challenge by Muslim groups to Switzerland’s minaret building ban.
A panel of seven judges with the court in France ruled that the people filing the lawsuits could not claim to be victims. The ruling’s timing coincided with the Muslim day of prayer.
Swiss voters approved a constitutional ban on minarets in 2009 that barred further construction of mosque towers.
The country’s four standing minarets, which were not affected by the ban, do not traditionally broadcast the call to prayer outside their own buildings.
The judges concluded that the people who filed the lawsuits, including several Swiss Muslim groups, failed to show how the ban had harmed their human rights.
The referendum by the nationalist Swiss People’s Party had labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation.