GENEVA (Nov. 27) — Swiss voters approved a move to ban the construction of minarets in a Sunday vote on a right-wing initiative that labeled the mosque towers as symbols of militant Islam, projections by a widely respected polling institute showed. . . .I would just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that, even if this might seem like a pretty crazy election result, it's about par for the course in Switzerland; apparently the reason they have such good clocks there is so that they can precisely measure how much time has elapsed since their last horrific referendum.
The nationalist Swiss People's Party describes minarets, the distinctive spires used in most countries for calls to prayer, as symbols of rising Muslim political and religious power that could eventually turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation. . . .
"Forced marriages and other things like cemeteries separating the pure and impure — we don't have that in Switzerland, and we do not want to introduce it" said Ulrich Schlueer, co-president of the Initiative Committee to ban minarets.
Item: In 1958 they voted overwhelmingly against giving women the vote. Not until 1971 were women enfranchised on a federal level, and in one particularly ass-backwards canton the law wasn't enforced until a supreme court ruling in 1990. 1990!
Item: In 1986 they voted overwhelmingly against joining the United Nations, afraid that doing so would compromise their "neutrality". (They eventually joined in 2002 by a margin of about 10%.)
Item: They voted to decriminalise abortion… In 2002.
Item: In 2003 they voted against making public buildings fully accessible; that same referendum, rejected by 63% of voters, also included a provision to give the disabled equal rights under the constitution.
Great chocolate, though.