02/12/2009

The European Union of Jewish Students condemns decision by Swiss voters to ban Minarets

The European Union of Jewish Students condemns decision by Swiss voters to ban Minarets

The European Union of Jewish Students has a long and proud history of standing up against all forms of religious discrimination.  In the light of the decision taken by Swiss voters to ban minarets, EUJS feels it cannot remain silent. EUJS condemns the vote, and the fact that this matter was put to the Swiss voters in the first place. The right to religious freedom is enshrined in every democratic system and this freedom cannot be curtailed in an inclusive and free Europe. EUJS believes that all religious communities, regardless of faith, should have the right and freedom to practice their religion without fear or discrimination.  We are glad to see that so many people and governments, including Muslim and Jewish communities as well as the Vatican and the United Nations have stepped forward to speak out on this important issue. EUJS calls on the Swiss government to increase religious dialogue  and understanding between communities,  to ensure that no community faces the fear of discrimination and denial of rights  faced by the  country's Muslim community in light of this vote. EUJS urges Swiss politicians and other leaders at the federal, cantonal and local level, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe   and other  governments and organisations, to stand up for the dignity of every individual in Europe and the world, and for the safeguarding of fundamental human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  and the European convention on Human Rights. EUJS, representing over 200,000 Jewish students in 34 European countries ,  stands firm in this fight as  a part of civil society in Europe. The European Union of Jewish Students, the sole democratically elected voice of European Jewish youth at the European level and at the European Youth Forum, is one of the largest international student organizations worldwide.   Its annual programming includes the Summer University, international, inter-religious and inter-generational seminars, study sessions, and cutting edge work that puts it at the forefront of the European context. The European Union of Jewish Students is the sole Jewish youth organization to have obtained the special ECOSOC Consultative Status at the United Nations.

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