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Outrage on Switzerland minaret vote, but how do Muslim states handle churches?

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Muslim reaction across the world to Sunday's Swiss referendum banning the construction of further minarets for mosques in the tiny Alpine nation has been almost entirely negative.

Indonesia's Maskuri Abdillah, leader of the largest Muslim organization in the world's most populous Muslim nation said the vote reflected Swiss "hatred" of Islam and Muslims.

Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, close to the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, said the ban was an attempt to "insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland."

Yet the referendums outcome pales in comparison to restrictions on non-Muslims who aim to practice their faith in Muslim lands. In fact, the vote only brought Swiss legal practice closer to that of many majority Muslim states that also place limits on the construction of houses of worship.

Here's a review of practices in four large majority Muslim states:

1. Indonesia. In a state with large minority populations of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and animists, the US State department reported in 2009 that at least 9 churches – and 12 mosques associated with the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect (which mainstream Muslim groups consider heretical) – were forced shut by violence or intimidation from community groups, and that a number of churches and Hindu temples have struggled to receive official permits in recent years. The Indonesian government has on a number of occasions stepped in to prevent church construction, largely over fears that it would stoke sectarian violence. But religious practice, by and large, is freer in Indonesia than most other Muslim majority states.

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