Kafr al-Hanadwa

From Minarets to Eurabia by Mango Girl
May 29, 2007, 6:56 am
Filed under: Firangs, Idiots, Religion

The Swiss have never been…how shall we say…famed for open-mindedness and multiculturalism (though to be fair, they haven’t pretended to, unlike the Dutch), but this is going to make them the laughing stock of the whole world:

Members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, currently the largest party in the Swiss parliament, have launched a campaign to have the building of minarets banned…

In theory Switzerland is a secular state, whose constitution guarantees freedom of religious expression to all. In practice however mosques in Switzerland tend to be confined to disused warehouses and factories.

Across the country, there are only two small minarets, one in Zurich and one in Geneva, neither of which are permitted to make the call to prayer. In Switzerland’s capital Berne, the largest mosque is in a former underground car park…

Mutalip Karaademi, an ethnic Albanian who has lived in Switzerland for 26 years, was at first pleased when his proposal for a 5m-high (16.5ft) minaret was approved by the local authority.

But following a vociferous campaign against the plans, including a petition with thousands of signatures, the cantonal government in Berne delayed the project indefinitely. …

“We don’t have anything against Muslims,” said Oskar Freysinger, member of parliament for the Swiss People’s Party.

“But we don’t want minarets. The minaret is a symbol of a political and aggressive Islam, it’s a symbol of Islamic law. The minute you have minarets in Europe it means Islam will have taken over.”

Mr Freysinger’s words may sound extreme, even paranoid, but this is a general election year in Switzerland, and the campaign against minarets is playing well with voters.

A recent opinion poll for one Swiss newspaper found that 43% of those surveyed were in favour of a ban on minarets.

“We have our civil laws here,” insisted Mr Freysinger. “Banning minarets would send a clear signal that our European laws, our Swiss laws, have to be accepted. And if you want to live here, you must accept them. If you don’t, then go back.

Yes, and what’s with all those church steeples and domes in the Middle East too, the Crusaders must be coming!

2 Comments so far
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Actually I think that was rather good reporting on the issue.

Just two add two things to give a bit a better perspective. First of all: SVP (the Swiss People’s Party) is the strongset party in parliament, but at the same time probably the most hated party of all. While they do have many supporters, most other people do despise them and that is different in case of other parties. While the liberals and the left might not love each other, they do cooperate.

Secondly: You can launch an initative for basically everything in Switzerland. There was two or three times an initiative to close down the army. It never got through. There was an initiative to legalise sale and consumption of all drugs. Didn’t get through. There was an initiative to ban all reseach on genetics. Did not get through either.

It is very true that sometimes weird initiatives do get through and comparably some good initiatives fail, however I am quiet sure that an initiative on banning minarettes would fail. Having a vote on issues always creates a discussion beforehand and often polls taken long before hand and the actual voting results differ widely as people will give you a gut opinion when they are polled but they do think about the issue again before voting…

However it is shocking enough that 43% of all people want to ban minarettes according tot heir gut feeling.

Just to make a last remark. Shortly after the SVP proposed their ban on minarettes a couple of people wrote nice articles in news papers proposing to ban the clock towers of churches (in Switzerland) for all the same reason.

Comment by Moritz

Thanks for the great details, Moritz – yes, I can sort of see how a headline-grabbing initiative might just be a bit of drama staged by a rightist party (for exactly this kind of coverage), but it was indeed the 43% figure that caught my eye. It seems to be fashionable at the moment in N/W Europe to repudiate multiculturalism on grounds of letting the fundies in, and this brings out people’s inner prejudices. I was reading recently about a Dutch Green Party MP who is of Moroccan origin, Naima Azough, who’s about as progressive as they come and yet has to face suspicion from her colleagues because she’s Muslim. Nobody likes to feel their culture and heritage slipping around them when there’s nothing they can do about it, but by picking on silly symbolic stuff like minarets the Europeans are giving credibility to the silliest Muslim fundies who insist that the West dislikes them for being Muslim and nothing else.

Comment by Mango Girl

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