Monday, 30 November 2009
Swiss Ban the Muslim MinaretWritten by R. Cort Kirkwood
Switzerland has struck out on its own to become, perhaps, the first European nation trying to stop Muslims from overtaking it.
On Sunday, voters resoundingly approved a ban on Muslim minarets, the pointed towers that rise like ballistic missiles above mosques, or Muslim houses of worship. According to the Associated Press, "The referendum by the nationalist Swiss People's Party labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation. The initiative was approved 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent by about 2.67 million voters. Only four of the 26 cantons or states opposed the initiative, granting the double approval that makes it part of the Swiss constitution."
Obviously, the ban is not popular with everyone. "The sponsors of the ban have achieved something everyone wanted to prevent, and that is to influence and change the relations to Muslims and their social integration in a negative way," complained Taner Hatipoglu, president of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Zurich. "Muslims indeed will not feel safe anymore."
"We're sorry," ran a sign brandished by a protestor upset with the vote. "That is not my Switzerland," said another. And yet a third offered this: "Swiss passport for sale."
Unlike other Europeans who have surrendered to creeping Islamic hegemony, many Swiss apparently don't share the typical benign view of Muslim immigrants and believe the minaret signals a rise of Muslim political power. They believe cultural and religious symbols such as the minaret mean something, and they may well take the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan at his word: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers,” he proclaimed in 1998. In 1995, he averred, “You cannot be secular and a Muslim at the same time. The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are waiting for the Turkish people to rise up. We will rise up.”