Islamic Banking

Turkey Condemns Switzerland, Says Muslims Should Withdraw Bank Cash

Tom Burroughes Editor London 3 December 2009


Muslims should consider withdrawing their money from Swiss bank accounts in response to the country's ban on the construction of minarets, a Turkish minister has been reported by media groups as saying.

"I am certain this [vote] will prompt our brothers from Muslim countries who keep their money and investments in Swiss banks to review their decision," said Egemen Bagis, cited by Turkish daily Zaman.

Mr Bagis is the chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union accession as well as minister for European affairs.

The decision by a majority of Swiss voters to ban the construction of new minarets has prompted controversy over whether a country, even if it chooses to act via a democratic referendum, can ban what are seen as symbols of religious belief. In France, for example, schools have banned the wearing of headscarves for Muslim girls.

"In 2008, when banks around the world were falling, no bank was affected in Turkey, and the door of Turkey's banking system is open to them," Mr Bagis was quoted as saying.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul said Tuesday that Switzerland's vote was contrary to fundamental rights and freedoms.

Earlier this week, figures in the Swiss banking industry were quoted as saying that they did not expect the ban to drive Muslim investors away from the country.

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