GENEVA — The European Court of Human Rights on Friday dismissed a challenge by Muslim groups to Switzerland’s minaret building ban.

A panel of seven judges with the Strasbourg, France-based, court ruled that the people filing the lawsuits couldn’t claim to be victims. The ruling’s timing coincided with the Muslim day of prayer.

Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets in 2009 that barred any more construction of the iconic mosque towers. The country’s four standing minarets, which were not affected by the ban, do not traditionally broadcast the call to prayer outside their own buildings.

The judges concluded that the people who filed the lawsuits in the European court — a former spokesman for a Geneva mosque and several Swiss Muslim groups — failed to show how the ban had harmed their human rights, the court said in a statement Friday. (More)


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