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!
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