What has most shaken the Swiss liberal elite is that Left-wing feminists played a prominent part in the successful campaign to ban Muslims minarets, notably prominent feminist author Julia Onken, who sent 4,000 emails warning that Islam tacitly condoned the burqa, forced marriage, honour killings and marital violence against women. The elegant Ms Onken is not some raving Islamophobe, but a widely respected figure.

But American leftie feminists are dead silent on Muslim abuse of women. Why is that?

The initiative was the handiwork of the Right-wing Swiss Freedom Party, whose campaign poster featured the red and white Swiss flag on which were superimposed a woman in a burqa and minarets bristling like ballistic missiles.

The clear implication was that minarets were ‘symbols of power’, a fear indirectly fuelled by the Turkish prime minister who recently stupidly described minarets as ‘bayonets of the faith’. Fear of this prospect resonates in a country where many Muslims are from Turkey.

But far bigger and more dangerous issues are also behind the vote. Indeed, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy have already acknowledged that the Swiss vote represented widespread anxieties across Europe about the erosion of traditional cultural identities.

And in many countries, such as Britain, these concerns are simply not being addressed. Concerned they will be branded racist if they raise the issue, many ‘liberal’ politicians would rather brush the immigration debate under the carpet. That means that radicals can capitalise on their silence.

A predictable chorus of vehement anti-Muslims – including the French National Front, the Italian Northern League, and Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom in the Netherlands – have already celebrated the Swiss decision.

'Open the door to Muslim abuse? NO!'

Deprived of mainstream politicians who will address their concerns, it seems, people will turn towards more radical alternatives.

Whether or not mosques have minarets is ultimately a cosmetic issue. But it is nevertheless one that has become a symbol of far deeper and more widespread grievances. The Swiss have been forced to recognise that many of their people are worried about Islam’s unquestioned, undemocratic encroachments into Western society. UK DAILY MAIL