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Guillaume Morand: Swiss Man says “NO” to Hate Campaign

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Our site is geared towards combating Islamophobes, but sometimes we like to give a well deserved shout out to a righteous individual who stands up against hate and Islamophobia. In this case we applaud Guillaume Morand, who took a strong and principled stance against Islamophobia. Great job Guilliame!

Swiss Businessman Builds Minaret in Protest

BUSSIGNY, Switzerland — A Swiss businessman appalled by his fellow countrymen’s decision to ban minarets has extended a chimney above his company building into a minaret in protest.

“It was scandalous that the Swiss voted for the ban. Now we have the support of all the far-right parties across Europe. This is shameful,” Guillaume Morand, who owns a chain of shoe stores, told AFP.

The businessman, who is not a Muslim, explained that the he had constructed the mock minaret at his building near western Switzerland’s city of Lausanne in protest, and at the same time, to “send a message of peace.”

More than 57 percent of voters upset opinion polls and defied their government by approving the right wing motion to ban minarets — the turrets or towers on mosques from which Muslims are called to prayer.

The outcome of the referendum brought by members of the hard-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and other right wing groups was also hailed by anti-immigrant party leaders elsewhere in Europe.

Morand blamed other political parties in Switzerland for not having campaigned against the far-right motion ahead of the referendum.

“They were all against it but they did not explain the issue clearly to the country,” he said, pointing out that only the SVP’s controversial poster campaign was visible.

The SVP had sought support for the ban through a poster campaign depicting a burqa-clad woman against a background of a Swiss flag upon which several minarets resembling missiles are erected.

Morand said he viewed the ban was all the more “scandalous” given that Switzerland actively encourages Arabs to “visit the country and to spend their money here.”

The minaret, which has been in place since Tuesday, has “generated a lot of interest,” he said, adding that he will wait and see before deciding if further action was needed to push his point.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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  • Nabeela

    Guillame Morand, the Swiss businessman who built a minaret on his chimney in protest, is a businessman with a chain of shoe shops in Switzerland, called Pomp It Up.

    This is his Pomp It Up website

    http://www.pompitup.com/up/index.html

    There is not much there, but if anyone wants to express their gratitude by writing to Guillame, there is an email contact.

    Cynics on the internet (probably his business competitors) are saying that he may be doing it to promote his shoe company. “as long as his shoe company is mentioned, he’ll do it” is their attitude. They cite his activism a few years back when he took out posters to protest the new Metro M2 in Lausanne.

    Be that as it may, Guillame Morand did not have to build the chimney and protest, and that is not a reason for us not to be grateful.

    I say, buy his shoes if you’re ever in Switzerland and send him a thank you email now!

  • http://english.aljazeera.net Layla

    I respect this businessman who is not a Musilm showing his solidarity with Muslims. He is a great man, and a good reason to reject the suggestion by some Muslim countries who were saying we should boycott Swiss products and banks.

    See here, in Le Matin, there is a picture of Guillame Morand sitting on the roof by the minaret he built in protest, and the British daily The Times shows a picture, with him showing reporters and people the minaret he built himself.

    Le minaret qui fait le tour du monde
    http://www.lematin.ch/actu/suisse/minaret-fait-tour-monde-204163

    Chimney pot minaret defies Swiss voters
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6954014.ece

  • iSherif

    Good on you Mr. Guillame Morand. Thanks very much!

  • Nabeela

    Thank you for your support Mr Guillame Morand. You’re a good friend and a decent man, honourable and with principles.

    and readers should note that Mr Morand said if the Swiss main stream parties had campaigned too as was their right, then it would not have happened.

  • http://www.rb.org.il/Islam-Israel/Islam-Israel%20Contents.htm Nasser

    He makes up for the bad decision to ban minarets.

    Good on you Guillame Morand. You do the Swiss proud!!

  • Darter

    Good man!

  • AF

    Thats a good looking minaret!
    Good job Mr. Morand!

  • Biz

    Congrats to Guillaume Morand!! Civil disobedience is the way to change things and ensure everyone’s freedoms. It work in India, America, and South Africa and some day it will help all people to be free.

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