By JPOST.COM STAFF
Iran criticized a Swiss ban on the construction of minarets on mosques, and warned of rising Islamophobia in Europe, Iranian English-language news agency Press TV reported Saturday.
According to the report, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held a phone conversation with Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey to criticize the ban, which was approved in a referendum on Sunday.
"This move did not befit a country claiming to be a number one advocate of democracy and religious freedom under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Mottaki was quoted as saying in the conversation.
"The ban will undoubtedly change Switzerland's image as a leading advocate of human rights," he added.
Mottaki reportedly warned his Swiss counterpart that the ban on building minarets was likely to have far-reaching implications both for the Swiss people and the Muslim minority.
In Athens on Tuesday, Swiss foreign minister said the government was worried about the ban.
"We are very concerned with this referendum. The reality of our societies in Europe and throughout the world is that each limitation on the coexistence of different cultures and religions also endangers our security," Calmy-Rey said during a meeting of foreign ministers of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"Provocation risks triggering other provocation and risks inflaming extremism," she added.
Calmy-Rey stressed that Muslims were accepted in Swiss society, and the decision would not change the foreign policy of the country, which would continue to maintain close relations with Muslim nations.
"Swiss Muslims are well integrated and will continue to attend the 200 mosques in the country," she said.
The minister said if an appeal against the referendum is lodged at the European Court of Human Rights, it would be up to the court to decide on its legality.
AP contributed to this report
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