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France's Chief Rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, considers Swiss vote on banning minarets 'unfair', calls for 'dialogue and openness'

PARIS - The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, called "for the Europeans to change their opinions on Islam" after the Swiss referendum banning the construction of minarets, calling it "unfair" in a article published Thursday by Le Figaro. 

"Today, we must act so that the Europeans - and not just the Swiss - change their minds about Islam. This requirement applies to leaders of all religions" Rabbi Bernheim said, holding that "it requires dialogue and openness".

"Part of the work is to be done here in Europe. Another part is the responsibility of Muslim countries," he said, emphasizing that "it would be unrealistic to expect massive results here without visible change there" .

While "some condemn the results of the vote and that the majority of Swiss who has voted wrongly," Rabbi Bernheim "the opinion of the Swiss should be heard" even if we "disagree with it".

He is "against the ban on minarets, which was passed in Switzerland," stressing "any decision that leads to give less rights to followers of a religion … is an unfair decision. "

In this regard he said part of the "framework" of "the Republic, secularism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides, in the same article: freedom of thought, conscience and religion".

Many Jewish organisations worldwide issued statements condemning the result of the Swiss vote.

Source: Middle East On Line

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