Monday, December 07, 2009

Disgracful Swiss Vote on Minarets

Disgraceful. That is the only way to describe the success of a right-wing initiative to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, where 57 percent of voters cast ballots for a bigoted and mean-spirited measure. Under Switzerland’s system of direct rule, the referendum is binding. Switzerland’s 400,000 or so Muslims, most of whom come from Kosovo and Turkey, are legally barred from building minarets as of now. We can only hope that the ban is quickly challenged, and that the Swiss courts will find a way to get rid of it.

Editorial - The Swiss Vote - NYTimes.com

Being liberal does not mean being anti Islamist. Just like some Islamists were outraged with the Swiss ban for the wrong reasons, some liberals applauded the vote for the wrong reasons too. The Islamists ignore that they treat other faiths in their own homeland more harshly than Muslims are treated abroad. Liberals forgot for the moment -for a reason- that their core value is allowing others to express themselves freely, unlike the Swiss ban.

3 comments:

Jacques Leblanc said...

I enjoyed both sides of your balanced comment. I like the mosque existing in Paris (did you ever visit it, it was built in the 1930's in moroccan style, I can take you there next time) and voted in favor of the plan to build Grand Mosques in Lyon (now completed) and Marseille (now under construction)The three mosques have tall minarets. A number of smaller mosques have been built in suburban cities around Paris, but there are still too many prayers' rooms in inappropriate premisses, disabled factories or underground rooms in appartement buildings. As an agnostic myself, I wish human beings turn more to philmosophy than to whatever religion, but as long as there are religions (and I guess this will be for a while) I think there should be decent places to practice them. I can understand people want to maintain the landscape they are used to, and we do have a problem with the maintenance of churches. Many of the rural churches are permanently closed and some are falling in ruins. In the village where we have our country house, the churche remained unused for the last 20 or 30 years. Should we demolish it or turn it into a mosque? My preference would be to turn it into a multi-religious place of prayer, but I did not meet with much success. In the mean time, I sponsored its rehabilitation just to maintain an piece of architecture of some significance.
I believe the western embassies in Riyadh are still waiting for permission to built a chapell in their supposedly extra territorial premisses (with no bell tower or campanile or "clocher" in french) The swiss vote is, in France, replaced by a debate around women's dress, namely burka or niqab. The moslem organisations favoring such dress have moslem women to speak to the news with arguments such as: "I don't mind your dress, why would you mind mine?" Those arguments are unacceptable as long as my wife has got to wear an abaya to travel in Iran or Saoudi Arabia. An other argument is that those female dresses are ""democratic"" !!!!! because everywomen are dressed in the same way. I believe those who say that never walked in UAE's shopping malls and crossed the silk veils enbroidered with pearls and diamonds, fake or real. Please continue to fight for mutual respect. Enlightment on both sides is a most usefull exercise. I am proub my bank account officer is called Ghanem, my insurance account officer is calles Ombagho (from Gabon) and my deputy when working in Geneva was called Amin Mirabdolbaghi.

bu ziyad said...

Thank you Jacques for your always informative comments. I will take your word for visiting the Paris mosque. Even though we have churches in Kuwait -even few Kuwaiti Christians, one priest I can think of- I think there are many restrictions still on practicing other non Muslim religious activities freely in Kuwait - such as budist temples. That is why the Islamist are being hypocritical in their criticism of the West treatment of Islam.

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