Minarets, like church steeples, are a physical manifestation of religion. There is little doubt, then, that their recent banning in Switzerland following a referendum constitutes a breach of the right to freedom of religion, with respect to the right to manifest ones religion. This right is protected under a number of instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Article 18), and the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 9). Under these instruments, the right to manifest ones religion can only be limited if such a limitation is necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others (ICCPR Article 18.3, for example). Minarets do not threaten any of these.

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