Zurich voters reject ban on “suicide tourism”

May 15, 2011

(Zurich city funeral services employees carry a casket from an assisted suicide clinic where a terminally ill British man died January 20, 2003/Sebastian Derungs)

Many Egyptian Christians voted ‘no’ on constitution, fearing Islamists

March 21, 2011
egypt referendum

(Pope Shenouda (L), head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, casts his vote during a national referendum, at a school in Cairo March 19, 2011/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Bashir plans Islamic law if Sudan splits, defends flogging woman

By Reuters Staff
December 19, 2010

sudan (Photo: Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses a rally in Gedaref, December 19, 2010/stringer)

Sudan will adopt an Islamic constitution if the south splits away in a referendum next month, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Sunday. The vote on independence for south Sudan is scheduled to start in three weeks and was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended a civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most follow traditional beliefs and Christianity.

Muslim group aims to reverse Swiss minaret ban

November 30, 2010

ch 1 (Photo: A referendum campaign poster supporting the minaret ban, in Zurich October 26, 2009/Arnd Wiegmann)

A Swiss Islamic group has said it was launching a popular initiative to reverse a ban on building new minarets in the Alpine state, saying voters would decide differently if the matter came up for referendum again. Last year, 57.5 percent of Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets, drawing international condemnation. The government had rejected the initiative as violating the constitution.

Turkey needs to re-interpret secularism – senior MP

October 15, 2010

erdogan (Photo: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan watches his wife Emine voting in a constitutional referendum, in Istanbul September 12, 2010/Osman Orsal)

Turkey has to re-interpret its principles of secularism to adapt to a changing society, an AK Party member in charge of drafting a new constitution said, joining a growing debate over the Muslim country’s identity.

Turkey’s Erdogan scores reform referendum victory

September 13, 2010

erdoganTurkish voters strongly backed constitutional reforms on Sunday, handing a government led by conservative Muslims a new victory in a power struggle with secular opponents over the country’s direction.

Kenya PM blasts judges for barring Islamic courts from constitution

May 29, 2010
kenya doves

President Mwai Kibaki (C), Prime Minister Raila Odinga (L) and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka (R) release pigeons for peace at a Nairobi rally for the constitution referendum on May 15, 2010/Thomas Mukoya

Swiss minaret ban reversal vote in pipeline

By Jason Rhodes
December 6, 2009

genevaminaretSwiss liberals are considering a new referendum to overturn the ban on building new minarets in the country, Sunday papers reported, as Libya’s Muamar Gaddafi warned the ban played into the hands of terrorists.

Bishop of Arabia dismayed by minaret ban in Swiss homeland

December 3, 2009

minarets-trainMany supporters of the Swiss ban on minarets justified it with the argument that limitations on mosques in Europe were permissible because Christians can’t build churches in some Muslim countries. This was also a recurring theme in comments to FaithWorld (see here and here). But doesn’t this tit-for-tat approach simply provide further arguments for Muslim authorities who don’ t want to concede more religious freedom to their Christian minorities?

The Swiss minaret ban and other trends for Islam in Europe

November 30, 2009

minarets-trainSwitzerland’s vote to ban minarets on mosques there raises the question of whether anything similar might happen elsewhere in Europe. Researching this for an analysis of the vote today, I found experts distinguished between actually banning an Islamic symbol such as the minaret and using the minaret example to fan voters’ fears and boost a (usually far-right) party’s chances at the polls. It seems Switzerland’s trademark direct democracy system makes it possibly the only country in Europe where both seem possible right now.