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Court: Anti-Islam group must be protected

Lyssandra Sears · 21 May 2012, 10:56

Published: 21 May 2012 11:15 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 May 2012 10:56 GMT+02:00

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The Federal Court says an anti-Islam group has the right to give out leaflets from an information booth if it wants – and the local authorities must protect them.

Fribourg Council banned the group – The Movement Against the Islamization of Switzerland – from setting up an information booth Place Georges-Python during the anti-minaret campaign in 2009.

It said it refused to give permission because of a fear that violence and unrest would break out as a result, provoking a legal challenge.

The Federal Court upheld the group’s complaint that the authorities had impinged on its freedom of expression as well as on freedom of information, newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported.

The court said the local authorities should instead have taken additional measures to safeguard against such an event.

In particular, the court said that the authorities could have drafted more police in to safeguard the site.

Although public law does grant local authorities powers to ban demonstrations from public spaces, the court confirmed that they may not do so simply because they disapprove of the ideas being communicated.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2012-05-23 23:33:29 by Global Macro
People most certainly should have the right to complain about any movement toward becoming Islamic. Furthermore, the principle of freedom of speech should be protected irrespective of whether we agree with the position being advocated. “Racist” and “hate speech” and “Hitler” are the language of extremists who want to stifle freedom of speech. The “Movement Against” people were right on two counts, first, on insisting that the government not interfere, and in fact protect them, in their exercise of free speech. And second, in declaring that they do not want Switzerland to become Islamic. When ignorant people have no argument of any merit, they resort to such language as we see above.
2012-05-23 13:00:38 by smeghead
I feel it's right and fair that people have the right to say no to changes like becomimg an islamist stae, when you go to a country that is one, you have no freedom at all,
2012-05-23 10:37:56 by asteriks
Racist court protect hate speech under excuse of freedom speech. Hitler judge.
2012-05-22 00:28:04 by Global Macro
This is a very interesting ruling. It is certainly the right answer. But it is also inconsistent with other rulings that we have seen coming from Swiss and other European courts.
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