Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi called for jihad (holy struggle) against Switzerland for banning the construction of minarets last November. A top UN official said Gaddafi's call was "inadmissible" in the framework of international relations.
AFP- UN Director-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze said Friday that calls for jihad by a head of state were "inadmissible", after Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi made such a call against Switzerland.
Asked by journalists about one state calling for jihad against the other, Ordzhonikidze said: "I believe that such declarations on the part of the head of state are inadmissible in international relations."
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi turned up the heat in his country's dispute with Switzerland on Thursday, calling for jihad against it over a ban adopted last year on the construction of minarets.
"It is against unbelieving and apostate Switzerland that jihad (holy war) ought to be proclaimed by all means," Kadhafi said in a speech in the Mediterranean coastal city of Bengazi to mark the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.
"Jihad against Switzerland, against Zionism, against foreign aggression is not terrorism," Kadhafi said.
"Any Muslim around the world who has dealings with Switzerland is an infidel (and is) against Islam, against Mohammed, against God, against the Koran," the leader told a crowd of thousands in a speech broadcast live on television.
July 2008 – Hannibal Gaddafi, son of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, and his wife are arrested and briefly detained in Geneva, Switzerland, on charges of mistreating two domestic workers. A Swiss prosecutor drops the case two months later.
July 2008 – Days after the arrest of Hannibal Gaddafi, two Swiss businessmen, Rachid Hamdani and Max Goeldi, are refused exit visas to leave Libya and are detained. They are charged with tax evasion and visa irregularities. Switzerland calls for their release.
August 2009 – Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz apologises to Libya for the detention of Hannibal, after Gaddafi senior threatens to cut oil supplies and withdraw billions of dollars in assets from the alpine nation.
September 2009 – Swiss daily La Tribune publishes mug shots of a disheveled Hannibal Gaddafi taken at the time of his arrest. Hannibal sues the Canton of Geneva and the newspaper for damages following the publication of the photographs.
November 29, 2009 – A national referendum in Switzerland approves a ban on the construction of minarets, the towers that are a signature part of mosques. Over 57 percent of voters support the initiative by far-right politicians.
February 2010 – Rashid Hamdani (left) pleads not guilty at his trial and is allowed to leave Libya, but fellow Swiss Max Goeldi (right) is sentenced to four months in jail. He surrenders to Libyan authorities after police surround the Swiss embassy in Tripoli.
February 2010 – Switzerland blacklists the Gaddafi family, preventing them from obtaining visas to enter the country. Libya retaliates by blocking visas from any citizen of a Schengen member state.
February 25, 2010 – Muammar Gaddafi calls on Muslims around the world to proclaim jihad (holy war) against Switzerland “by all means”, citing the country’s ban on construction of minarets. The Libyan leader vows to "fight Switzerland, Zionism, and foreign aggression".
In a November 29 referendum, Swiss voters approved by a margin of 57.5 percent a ban on the construction in their country of minarets, the towers that are a signature part of mosques.
Relations between Libya and Switzerland have been strained since July 2008 when Kadhafi's son Hannibal and his wife were arrested and briefly held in Geneva after two domestic workers complained he had mistreated them.
The row escalated when Libya swiftly detained and confiscated the passports of two Swiss businessmen, Rashid Hamdani and Max Goeldi. It deepened again last year when a tentative deal between the two countries fell apart.
Both men were convicted of overstaying their visas and of engaging in illegal business activities. Hamdani's conviction was overturned in January, and he has now returned home, while Goeldi surrendered to authorities this week and is now serving a reduced sentence of four months.
Adoption of the minaret ban was opposed by the Swiss government, the bulk of Switzerland's political parties and the economic establishment and was an unexpected outcome.
The move drew widespread criticism, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay calling the ban "deeply discriminatory, deeply divisive and a thoroughly unfortunate step for Switzerland to take."
The Swiss government sought to assure the country's 400,000 Muslims, who are mainly of Balkan and Turkish origin, that the outcome was "not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture."
Switzerland has around 200 mosques, with just four minarets among them.
Date created : 2010-02-26