Swiss minaret ban deals double blow to Bosnian refugees

Civilized and democratic Switzerland isn’t looking so civilized and democratic these days. On Nov. 29, Swiss voters approved a ban on minarets by 57.5%, at the urging of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party—which argued that the minaret is a symbol of Islamic political power and not protected by guarantees of religious freedom. Switzerland has 400,000 Muslims—many of them Bosnian and Kosovar Albanian refugees from the former Yugoslavia. (CSM, Nov. 30)

What a double insult—these Bosnians and Kosovars fled the Serb campaign of ethnocide in the ’90s, in which mosques and minarets were burned down and blown up, only to find them banned in supposedly tolerant Switzerland where they sought refuge. And the idiot left in the West continues to deny or make apologies for the Bosnia genocide, even while making a pretense of opposing Europe’s (and America’s) resurgence of Islamophobia and right-wing militancy. Nothing exposes their hypocrisy as clearly as the Swiss case.

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  1. Swiss and Saudis
    Western Europe is going through the panic of Islamic cultural takeover. What’s the problem? Native population is not making children. Muslim immigrants are making 5 per family. Right wing is using this demographic data to scare natives of losing their societies to the foreign culture. That’s a hoax, because most of the immigrant children will yearn to assimilate in the society in which they are growing up. But the hoax works well with the existing cast of voters. The funny part is that Switzerland, unlike say France or Netherlands, does not have the “Islamic problem” at all. There are only 4 minarets in whole of Switzerland (on that right-wing referendum poster there are 7), and there are no veiled women in Switzerland, since 90% of Swiss Muslims are from Bosnia, Kosovo and Turkey, where women do not veil themselves, so the women from the poster must have been photographed elsewhere. The difference between Switzerland and France or Netherlands is that the neo-nazi party in Switzerland is the largest political party in the nation, that’s why this referendum happened and passed. On the other hand, christian immigrants in Arab Muslim world have less rights: 800,000 catholic Christians (immigrants from Phillipines) in Saudi Arabia have no church (the closest one is in Doha, Qatar – opened last year, with no church tower, no church bell, not even a cross visible on the outside), cannot celebrate their holidays, cannot even wear symbols of their religion. It would be fair that outrage against Swiss includes the outrage against Saudis.

    1. Mecca on the Rhone?
      World War 4 Report has certainly spared no outrage on the clerical totalitarianism of the Saudi regime. But isn’t it funny that those who invoke the supposed superiority of Western culture the loudest are the quickest to betray those values which supposedly make it superior (pluralism, tolerance, etc.)? Right after the Swiss vote, the Dutch parliament voted down a measure to similarly ban minarets. The MP who introduced it, one Kees van der Staaij, told Radio Netherlands “he would think it perfectly normal if Saudi Arabia banned the building of cathedrals in Mecca.” Well, for starters, we hadn’t heard that Amsterdam was revered as a holy city for Christians. For seconds, of course churches are already banned throughout Saudi Arabia, so he needn’t have weakened his own argument by choosing Mecca. For thirds, there is already a Starbucks in Mecca, which is arguably even worse for conservative Muslim sensibilities. But more to the point: What a great advertisement for Western values. We should sink to the level of Saudi Arabia. Good thinking there, Kees.

      1. Lunatic Decision
        Muslims are human beings just like Christians. Ban on minarets could not stand the Suoreme Courts challenge. One purpose of democracy and human rights is to protect the minority’s rights from being taken away by the will of majority. Minarets are religious expression of Muslims, it’s an art, beatiful architecture. It has nothing to do with alleged Muslim political power. Muslims should legally challenge this ban all the way to the Supreme Court. Will they do it?

        1. France’s chief rabbi agrees
          From Middle East Online, Dec. 3:

          PARIS — The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, called “for the Europeans to change their opinions on Islam” after the Swiss referendum banning the construction of minarets, calling it “unfair” in a article published Thursday by Le Figaro.

          “Today, we must act so that the Europeans – and not just the Swiss – change their minds about Islam. This requirement applies to leaders of all religions” Rabbi Bernheim said, holding that “it requires dialogue and openness”.

          “Part of the work is to be done here in Europe. Another part is the responsibility of Muslim countries,” he said, emphasizing that “it would be unrealistic to expect massive results here without visible change there” .

          While “some condemn the results of the vote and that the majority of Swiss who has voted wrongly,” Rabbi Bernheim “the opinion of the Swiss should be heard” even if we “disagree with it”.

          He is “against the ban on minarets, which was passed in Switzerland,” stressing “any decision that leads to give less rights to followers of a religion … is an unfair decision. ”

          In this regard he said part of the “framework” of “the Republic, secularism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides, in the same article: freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.

          Many Jewish organisations worldwide issued statements condemning the result of the Swiss vote.

      2. Some perspective
        Kees van der Staaij is an MP for the SGP, a very right-wing Christian party that has 2 seats in the 150 seat Dutch parliament. To give you some idea, the relatively new ‘Party for Animals’ (who are for better treatment of animals, not a party for illbehaved people 🙂 also has two seats.
        The SGP is entangled in long going controversy about women’s rights as they ‘are against women in politics’. So now they are against mosques, ironic as I would except that is where they might find support for their ideas.