Swiss Muslims have offended both fellow Muslims and Jews by wearing yellow badges in the shape of a Jewish star, which Nazis forced on Jews so that they could be singled out for derision and deportation, to protest discrimination.
However, there is one difference between the badges: The word “Muslim” was placed on them instead of "Jude" during a 200-strong Islamic protest in the city of Bern.
Other demonstrators carried a plastic replica of a mosque with minarets, which Switzerland recently has banned as an anti-Muslim mood grows in the country.
Two mainstream Muslim groups refused to participate in the demonstration, organized by conservative Muslims, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency.
Edith Bino, president of the Jewish community in Bern, told the Basler Times that she found the use of the yellow star "so obviously wrong that it could not be taken seriously." Yves Kugelmann, editor in chief of the Jewish newspaper Tachles, said the symbols were "simply idiotic."
"It is regrettable when legitimate concerns are raised using false comparisons," Kugelmann told the Basler Times.
Nicolas Blancho, head of the Islamic Central Council, defended his choice of symbols, telling the Tages Anzeiger newspaper that "Muslims are treated as second-class citizens and are discriminated against, for example because they wear a headscarf or because of their name when they look for an apprenticeship or are looking for an apartment."
Laura Booth, a sister-in-law of the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair and who has converted to Islam, joined the protesters and wore a Muslim veil.
The anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party is gaining popularity in Switzerland and has pledged to stage a referendum that would enact Europe's most extreme ban on immigration. The party is expected to win approximately 30 percent of the vote in a general election this weekend, more than any other party.
The party already has campaigned to outlaw the “burka” and expel foreign-born criminals. It co-sponsored last year’s referendum banning the building of minarets.