Alluding to its logo, taken from Switzerland’s national flag, the slogan says in German, “Kreuz ist Trumpf”, literally, the “cross is trumps”, or the “cross is a plus”.
The words are used in a billboard campaign, launched within the country last month, that highlights the white cross on the back of one of its planes.
Muslims in Switzerland have responded negatively to the advertising, which they believe promotes Christianity over other religions.
In Swiss internet forums, Islamists complain that Swiss makes reference to the “cross” and not the “Swiss cross”, Der Sonntag newspaper reported.
The issue has been picked up by newspapers in several Muslim countries.
Turkish journalist Cemil Baysal said he is not surprised by the angry response to the campaign which comes on the heels of the emotional reaction by Muslims globally to the American film “Innocence of Muslims”.
The anti-Islamic film touched off violent protests across North Africa and the Middle East.
“Many Muslims feel this Christian slogan (of Swiss) is a provocation and an assault against Islam,” Baysal told Der Sonntag.
Swiss maintains that its ad campaign does not carry any religious or political message.
The slogan is, in fact, a play on words, referring to “trumps” in Jass, the popular card game that is strongly rooted in Switzerland, airline spokeswoman Myriam Ziesack told Sonntag.
She said it was unfortunate that the billboard advertising appeared at the same time as the anti-Muhammad American film surfaced on the Internet.
“We didn’t intend to make any religious or political statement with this advertising message,” Ziesack said.
“However, should the religious feelings of others have been hurt by others, we regret that very much.”