Minarets are distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques, generally tall spires with onion-shaped or conical crowns, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure.
The earliest mosques were built without minarets, the adhan (call to prayer) was performed elsewhere; hadiths relay that the Muslim community of Madina gave the call to prayer from the roof of the house of Muhammad, which doubled as a place for prayer. Around 80 years after Muhammad's death the first known minarets appeared.
The Swiss people have just approved a ban on the construction of any new Minarets with 57 percent of the voters backing the proposal that initially no one thought would have the votes to pass.
The reasoning behind the ban is those opposed to the construction of new minarets believe Minarets are "symbols of rising Muslim political and religious power that could eventually turn Switzerland into an Islamic nation."
Radio Free Europe:
Right wing politician Ulrich Schluer from the Swiss People's Party told the Swiss website swissinfo.ch that minarets symbolize a political-religious claim to power.
“We do not forbid Islam -- we forbid the political symbol of Islamization, and this is the minaret,” Schluer said. “The minaret has nothing to do with religion; the minaret is a symbol of political victory [of Islam]. The first thing the Turks did when they conquered Constinople -- they installed a minaret on the top of the most important church.”
Amnesty International disagrees and believes this ban violates Switzerland's "obligation" to freedom of religious expression.
Claude Longchamp, leader of the gfs.bern polling institute, is quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the projection also forecasts approval by more than half of the country's 26 cantons, meaning it will become a constitutional amendment.
The end result on Cantons was that 22 voted for and 4 voted against the ban.
H/T Atlas Shrugs.