[JURIST] UN Under-Secretary-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze [official profile] on Friday condemned calls by Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi [official website] for a jihad on Switzerland. Gaddafi issued the call [Telegraph report] in response to Switzerland's recent vote to ban the construction of minarets [JURIST report]. Ordzhonikidze called the declaration "inadmissible" [BBC report]. Also Friday, a spokesperson for EU high representative Catherine Ashton criticized Gaddafi's calls. Gaddafi had earlier warned [SwissInfo report] that the ban could make Switzerland an enticing target for al Qaeda.
In December, Hafid Ouardiri, a former spokesman at the Geneva Mosque, filed a complaint [JURIST report] at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] challenging the ban on the construction of minarets, a week after a group of Swiss intellectuals called for [JURIST report] the ban's reversal. Swiss Supreme Court President Lawrence Meyer also said [NZZ report, in German] that two suits have been filed in federal court challenging the ban's legality. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] has condemned the ban [JURIST report] as a form of religious discrimination. In 2008, the Swiss government announced [JURIST report] that Swiss nationalist parties had gathered enough signatures on their initiative against the construction of minarets [initiative website, in French] to force a national referendum on whether the country's constitution should be amended to ban the structures. The initiative was originally sponsored by the anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party (SVP) [party website].