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Update: Swiss party leader backs off call for Jewish, Muslim cemetery ban

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UPDATE

A leading Swiss politician who called for a ban on separate Jewish and Muslim cemeteries has back-tracked and apologized.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” said Christophe Darbellay, leader of the country’s Christian Democratic Party, according to the World Bulletin news site. He said his declaration in a TV interview Tuesday night was “about the principle that we all belong to the same Swiss society … but you can’t explain that in 15 seconds.”

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World Bulletin reports:

The Conference of European Rabbis criticised his comments on Thursday and said the Swiss minaret ban will fuel xenophobia and risks making Jews the next target of religious intolerance.

“We don’t have a situation of the extreme right in Europe attacking Jews because they are content to attack Muslims,” Philip Carmel, the international relations director for the Conference of European Rabbis, told Reuters. “But the Swiss example is classic: it’s not just Muslims who are going to be targeted by the extreme right.”

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS BELOW

Just a few days after Swiss voters approved of a ban on minarets in their country, the leader of a major Swiss political party is defending his call to ban separate Jewish and Muslim cemeteries.

According to Jewish news service JTA, Christophe Darbellay, head of the country’s Christian Democratic Party, made the comment during a TV interview on Tuesday evening.

“It doesn’t bother me to be buried next to a person of another religion,” Darbellay told the Swiss daily Le Matin on Thursday. “But I don’t imagine that in this country, every religion or sect can have a separate cemetery in every town. It wouldn’t be manageable to make these exceptions. … Principle requires that one does not distinguish on the basis of origin or religion.”

JTA reports: “Darbellay reportedly said that existing cemeteries would not be affected by a ban, but that there should be no separate cemeteries in the future.” The paper added that critics describe the Christian Democrat leader’s move as an “escalation” of the political conflict between the Swiss and their Muslim minority.

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On Sunday, by a vote of 58 percent to 42 percent, Swiss voters approved a ban on minarets — the towers that appear at the top of Muslim mosques — raising concerns in many corners of the world about religious oppression. While it wasn’t Darbellay’s party that championed that move –the nationalist Swiss Peoples’ Party had pushed for it — Darbellay has in the past argued in favor of a ban on Muslim burqas.

Of the country’s Muslim minority, he said: “The majority of them are integrated, but a minority refuses to respect our rules and dreams of Sharia law in place of our federal constitution, and that’s unacceptable. We are all equal under the same law.”

Switzerland’s minaret ban is reflective of growing fears about the “Islamization” of Europe, a hot political topic on the continent in recent years. The move was condemned by the UN’s human rights commissioner and even drew fire from Pope Benedict XVI.

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Even the country’s foreign minister warned that the minaret ban could pose a risk to Swiss security.


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DC police demand people standing in line to vote go home — even though they’re exempt from curfew: report

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Although Washington, D.C. is under curfew due to the George Floyd protests, the DC Board of Elections and Mayor Muriel Bowser have made clear that anyone waiting to vote in the district's primary elections are exempt from the curfew.

But according to the reports of at least one voter, some police in the district are still telling people waiting in line to vote to disperse and return to their homes.

THIS MOMENT IN WASHINGTON, DC:• A citywide curfew in effect• It's election day• Voters are exempt from the curfew• This line to vote is stretches all 4 sides of the block• Peaceful protests underway only blocks away@NBCLX @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/5uru5Yow1E

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Armed security forces in DC are refusing to identify their agencies — sparking condemnation

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On Tuesday, Mother Jones national security reporter Dan Friedman posted an image of heavily-armed federal officials overseeing protests in D.C. — and noted that they refused to identify their agency when asked.

Asked who they’re with, these guys say only that they’re with “The Department of Justice.” pic.twitter.com/ciVDtP8ndk

— Dan Friedman (@dfriedman33) June 2, 2020

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Internet scorns Trump for saying D.C. was the ‘safest place on earth last night’: ‘Bunker Boy says what?’

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to proudly proclaim he had succeeded in restoring order to Washington, D.C. last night.

Washington, D.C., was the safest place on earth last night!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2020

Commenters on social media did not see it the same way.

Did your hear that George W. Bush’s former alum have launched a Super PAC to elect Joe Biden?

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