The Swiss public has said yes in a poll to banning the construction of minarets – a symbol of Islamic tradition. Around 58 per cent of voters backed the initiative out of a 55 per cent population turnout, flying in the face of poll predictions which thought the ban would be rejected by 53 per cent of the electorate. “The proposal on banning minaret construction was championed by rightwing and ultra-conservative groups. The government and most political parties as well as churches and the business community came out strongly against it. To be approved, it needed the backing of a majority of both voters and cantons. The director of gfs.bern told Swiss French television that the issue by the end of the campaign was not minarets, but the position of Muslims in Switzerland. Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf had argued strongly against a ban on minaret construction. ‘The initiative is a kind of 'proxy war'. Its supporters say they are against minarets. But they want to fight what they consider creeping Islamicisation and sharia law’ she said ahead of the vote.”