This story from Switzerland is a prime example of why direct democracy, rather than representative democracy, can be a bad idea.
Switzerland became the first country in Europe today to vote to curb the religious practices of Muslims when a referendum banning the construction of minarets on mosques was backed by a solid majority.
The surprise result, banning minarets in a country that has only four mosques with minarets and no major problems with Islamist militancy, stunned the Swiss establishment …
This is simply a horrendous decision. Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and should not be at the whim of referenda.
The campaign to ban minarets was described by the country’s justice minister as a “proxy war” for drumming up conflict between ethnic Swiss and Muslim immigrants. But the ban was supported by a majority of 57.5%, 20 percentage points more than predicted in opinion polls in the run-up to the vote.
This is interesting in that many back the ban, but did not want to admit to it. The advantage of parliamentary votes is they are public and people have to stand by their vote.
There are problems in Europe with Islamic extremism and non-integration. But the solution is not to ban minarets on mosques, targeting an entire religion.