When Fear Turns Graphic

SWITZERLAND stunned many Europeans, including not a few Swiss, when near the end of last year the country, by referendum, banned the building of minarets. Much predictable tut-tutting ensued about Swiss xenophobia, even though surveys showed similar plebiscites would get pretty much the same results elsewhere.

A poster was widely cited as having galvanized votes for the Swiss measure but was also blamed for exacerbating hostility toward immigrants and instigating a media and legal circus. “We make posters, the other side goes to the judge,” is how Alexander Segert put it when we met here the other day. “I love it when they do that.”

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