PSL: Swiss voters approve racist minaret ban

Posted at PSLweb.org:

By: Tamara Khoury

Anti-immigrant reaction gathers strength in Europe

Campaign posters all over Berne, Switzerland depicted a woman wearing a burqa standing next to a Swiss flag covered with missiles. The posters were pushing a
referendum on a proposed ban on the construction of new minarets. Minarets are architectural features of Islamic mosques, and the proposed ban is a thinly veiled, racist attack against the rights of Muslims living in Switzerland. On Nov. 30, the referendum passed by a margin of 57 percent. Because an outright majority of Swiss states (or “cantons”) supported the ban, it can now become a constitutional amendment.

Minaret of Zurich’s Mahmud Mosque
Minaret of Zurich’s Mahmud Mosque
Photo: Christian Hartmann

The approved ban openly breeches the Swiss Constitution’s policy of religious tolerance. The major right-wing party, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), called for the vote as the culmination of a long-running campaign against immigration.
In its previous campaigns, the SVP used similarly racist poster designs, including the image of white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag.

Although many Swiss government officials publicly encouraged voters to reject the ban, they also prepared for its passage. “I am assuming our trade relations with other countries will become more difficult,” said Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. Other statements made by officials described fears of a “backlash from the Muslim world,” similar to what happened after cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were published in Denmark.

Sheer ignorance and naked Islamophobia won over voters during the election. The main message of the pro-referendum campaigners was the ridiculous fear of the potential “Islamization of Switzerland.”  This didn’t stop Oskar Freysinger, a prominent politician in the Swiss People’s Party from claiming, “This has nothing to do with the practice of religion.” Ulrich Schuler, the co-president of an initiative committee made things more explicit: “Forced marriages and other things like cemeteries separating pure and impure—we don’t have that in Switzerland, and we do not want to introduce it.”

They also claimed that minarets are symbolic of political and religious power and that the ongoing construction would lead to the future integration of Islam into the Swiss government. In most Muslim countries, minarets atop mosques are used to project calls to prayer five times a day. However, the population of Switzerland is only 6 percent Muslim. The majority of Swiss Muslims do not actively practice Islam. At present, there is a total of four minarets in the country, and none is used to call Muslims to prayer.

Campaigners also misinformed voters with information regarding Sharia Law.

The bigotry that has blinded Swiss voters from making a clear decision is a product of a deepening xenophobia across Europe. France, the European country with the largest Muslim population, banned young women from wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in public schools. In Germany, a Muslim citizen was publicly murdered while testifying in court. Now comes the Swiss minaret ban. Anti-immigrant reaction is gaining strength across the continent. Resistance to this growing wave must also quickly grow stronger and better organized.

47 thoughts on “PSL: Swiss voters approve racist minaret ban

  1. jason

    Everybody is missing the point – religion is just a tool to control the masses, as is xenophobia. When will they wake up and realize they’re all in the same boat, getting screwed over by those on top?

  2. Bob

    Hate????

    Just try to hand out copies of the Bible or Torah in Cairo or Tehran. Just try to build a church or synagogue in the Moslem world. Check your history folks. Islam has oppressed every group it has ever come into contact with.

  3. Vaughn

    Every religion has oppressed another at some time.

    Regardless, Europe is supposed to be secular, liberal democracies. This is an affront to freedom of expression.

  4. Michael Cavlan

    Remind me of the anti-Irish bigotry that has been rampant in England.

    No Irish-No Dogs-No Muslims Need Apply

  5. Third Party Revolution

    How I see it is that while faith is essential, almost all of the current world religions have become corrupt and hypocritical. In my belief, there needs to be a new religion started that is neither corrupt nor hypocritical.

  6. paulie Post author

    Here is a different take on the Swiss minaret issue:

    “Swiss ban on minarets was a vote for tolerance and inclusion”

    by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born women’s rights advocate and former Dutch parliamentarian.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1205/p09s01-coop.html

    Hooey.

    And I’m surprised to see you link to it.

    She bases on her arguments on the premise that Islam is a political ideology, not a religion. This contention is simply false. Then she contends that since it’s OK to ban nazi and communist symbols, it must be OK to ban Islamic symbols…except that it’s NOT OK to ban nazi and communist symbols. Along the way, she makes other whopper-sized errors in logic, such as saying that if there was discrimination against Muslims in Europe, they wouldn’t go there. Of course, that is nonsense…it may be that they are fleeing even worse persecution elsewhere, or seeking better economic opportunities, but that does not mean there is no prejudice in Europe or that it is not getting worse. In short, the whole article is bunk.

  7. paulie Post author

    Every religion has oppressed another at some time.

    Regardless, Europe is supposed to be secular, liberal democracies. This is an affront to freedom of expression.

    Agreed.

  8. Bob

    ****Europe is supposed to be secular, liberal****

    Yes, EUROPE IS. But Europe lives in the 21st Century. Islam is an insane 7th Century cult. Just try being secular and liberal when Moslems become a majority.

  9. paulie Post author

    there needs to be a new religion started

    A new religion that will bring you to your knees…Black Velvet if you please.

  10. MN Indy

    So, wait, Muslims are a race now? Are Christians a race too? And Buddhists? Or are the deluded Reds merely tripping over their own rhetoric in a mad rush to bash this?

  11. paulie Post author

    So, wait, Muslims are a race now? Are Christians a race too?

    Religion is a proxy for ethnic difference in this case. In Europe, Middle Eastern immigrants are often called “black” and there is a great deal of hostility from a native population that was much more homogenous until very recently. Of course, much of the immigration is due to the legacy of European colonialism.

  12. Nicole

    “So what is the actual fear here? Do they think that they are actual missles?”

    uhm…no.
    But Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan calling the minarets the bayonets of Islam didn’t help.

    The fear is an emerging parallel society as can be seen in countries such as France and Germany. The fears (sometimes justified, sometimes irrational) are realities such as schools with 90% Muslim pupils, who don’t speak the local language, Albanian mothers refusing to learn the language and Turkish fathers forbidding their daughters to go to (compulsory) swimming lessons and school trips. The fears are problems inside the Muslim community, such as forced marriages, female circumcision and the implementation of Canun or Shariah law.

  13. Morgan Brykein

    I have a feeling that European Muslims of the 21st century will face the same hardships once faced by European Jews of the 20th. At least, that’s if crypto-Nazis like Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have their way.

  14. Morgan Brykein

    “Just try to hand out copies of the Bible or Torah in Cairo or Tehran. Just try to build a church or synagogue in the Moslem world. Check your history folks. Islam has oppressed every group it has ever come into contact with.”

    Your point being? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  15. Morgan Brykein

    “Yes, EUROPE IS. But Europe lives in the 21st Century. Islam is an insane 7th Century cult. Just try being secular and liberal when Moslems become a majority.”

    Muslims will not be a majority in Europe. That is utter bullshit and fear-mongering.

    “The fears are problems inside the Muslim community, such as forced marriages, female circumcision and the implementation of Canun or Shariah law.”

    Female circumcision and forced marriage are not Islamic practices. Although some Muslims do practice these. But it’s because of culture, not religion.

  16. Morgan Brykein

    I would advise against calling Islamophobic hatred “racist.” If you encounter a stormtrooper from “TheReligionofPeace.com” and he hears you call Islamophobia “racism,” he’ll ask the retarded, redundant question of “what race is Islam?”

  17. Nicole

    Female circumcision and forced marriage are not Islamic practices. Although some Muslims do practice these. But it’s because of culture, not religion.

    The ban of minarets was directed against culture, not religion.

    The “problems inside the Muslim community” is what has its part in causing fears. Where the problems originate makes no difference.

  18. Trent Hill

    “he hears you call Islamophobia “racism,” he’ll ask the retarded, redundant question of “what race is Islam?””

    As he should, Islam ISNT a race, nor is it dominated by one particular race.

  19. Morgan Brykein

    “As he should, Islam ISNT a race, nor is it dominated by one particular race.”

    I know, but since venomous morons like the Religion of Peace stormtroopers can’t come up with valid arguments, they choose to make snarky comments and personal attacks.

    “The ban of minarets was directed against culture, not religion.”

    Most mosques around the world have minarets. They’re part of Islamic culture. So yeah, it’s directed towards culture and religion.

  20. Ollie

    If they don’t like it they can go back where they came from. Which they should do anyway. Just like the Mexicans in the US.

  21. paulie Post author

    Islam is an insane 7th Century cult.

    Islamophobia is an insane 21st century cult. Islam is a world religion with over a billion followers, the vast majority of whom are not fundamentalists. There’s been a rise in Islamic fundamentalism as a response to US and European imperialism. However, most Muslims are still no more extremist than most Christians, Jews, etc.

    Just try being secular and liberal when Moslems become a majority.

    A majority of what? Don’t be absurd.

  22. paulie Post author

    And speaking of religion, aren’t communists supposed to be against religion?

    I guess they are even more against ethnocultural prejudice.

  23. paulie Post author

    Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan calling the minarets the bayonets of Islam didn’t help.

    Turkey? Are you kidding me? Their government is more anti-Islamic fundamentalist than just about any in the world.

  24. paulie Post author

    “Just try to hand out copies of the Bible or Torah in Cairo or Tehran. Just try to build a church or synagogue in the Moslem world. Check your history folks. Islam has oppressed every group it has ever come into contact with.”

    Your point being? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Exactly.

  25. paulie Post author

    If they don’t like it they can go back where they came from. Which they should do anyway. Just like the Mexicans in the US.

    How about Europeans in the US? What’s the time horizon? Following this “logic” all the way through, all the people of the world should move to Africa.

  26. Brandon Trent

    you people who support Islamic rights; do not get it.

    Support them all you want; if they ever implement Sharia law; you either Convert or die.

    You will have no choice; I know people that have lived in Tehran who have been tortured for not converting to Islam.

  27. Carolyn Marbry

    Islam is both a culture and a religion. I believe the word is “deen,” a way of life codified in a religion. And yeah, it’s basically 7th century Arab culture rendered immutable and divine, including such enlightened things as beating one’s wife if one fears disobedience (4:33). I’ve spent years studying the Quran and the Hadiths and talking to muslims in Pakistan and Iran, as well as atheists in Iran (who have to hide their identities or risk being executed). Until and unless you’ve studied the Quran and the Hadiths, you really aren’t in a position to discuss Islam intelligently. Sorry, but I’d say the same of people trying to discuss Christianity in general terms who have never cracked a Bible.

    Islam is just not a religion that blends neatly into other cultures it comes into contact with, much as the cultural relativist apologists might want it to be. Jared Diamond refers to “bloody borders” around areas dominated by Islam, and he’s not exactly wrong about that. The simple reality is, Islam as given is completely intolerant of non-believers. That’s Islam as given in the Quran and Hadiths.

    That doesn’t mean individual non-fundamentalist practitioners cannot adapt their practice of faith to the cultures of their adopted countries — the vast majority of American muslims do exactly that, recognizing freedom of religion which is unheard of under governments dominated by Islam. This, to my mind, is to be encouraged, and we encourage it by example: By allowing freedom of religion as long as that religion — not its individual followers, mind, but the religion as a whole — does not infringe on the rights of others. If we were to outlaw a given religion based on the terrorist acts of a few practitioners, a lot of Christian churches would be out of business here, too.

    I do NOT support the Swiss ban on minarets because freedom of religion means freedom of religion. Period. Full stop. Minarets don’t kill people now any more than cathedral towers killed people during the Inquisition. It’s a ridiculous and impotent smack at muslims and just adds to the tensions that lead to violence. It would be one thing if muslims were blowing up buses demanding minarets on public buildings. But they’re not. They just want them on their mosques.

    The things people fear about Islam are already illegal. Blowing up buildings, killing people for not sharing their beliefs, religion creeping into the courts… While some areas of Europe are allowing Sharia law as an alternative to European courts, Sharia law cannot take hold in the U.S. partially because of the non-muslim majority and partially because of Constitutional protections against it.

    If Switzerland wants to chase out muslims, they should man up, quit playing games and just admit they’ve lost all sense of what freedom means and just do it and pay the price in world opinion for their bigotry.

    But banning minarets? That’s as stupid as banning vanilla flavored cigarettes in an effort to get smokers to stop smoking.

  28. Morgan Brykein

    Brandon Trent, maybe we should force Muslims to wear a yellow crescent on their clothing, and force them into camps. That will certainly prevent Muslims from taking over Europe.

    Heil Hitler.

  29. Trent Hill

    “Female circumcision and forced marriage are not Islamic practices. Although some Muslims do practice these. But it’s because of culture, not religion.”

    Exactly right, Morgan. The same thing goes for the Burqa and for multiple wives. These all precede Islam. The multiple wives thing was actually a LIMITATION on the amount of wives you could have, because the previous culture allowed for unlimited amounts.

  30. Tom Blanton

    Clarification:

    I don’t endorse the opinions of Ayaan Hirsi Ali that I linked to at post #2. I do find her article to be interesting. It illustrates that whether people worship the state or some supernatural being, they often have a difficult time minding their own business. In fact, they often prefer minding the business of others.

    This may explain why some in a liberal society are wary of those whom they believe are fundamentalists with political agendas.

    Now, let’s consider why so many people in America are concerned with the Swiss banning of an architectural feature of Muslim Mosques while America assassinates Muslims by remote control drones because they are SUSPECTED of being Taliban members or “extremists”.

    Let us also contemplate how many Mosques, with or without minarets, have not been built at all in America because zoning authorities refused to grant permission. This often happens even with Christian churches.

    Finally, how many American Mosques have been infiltrated by the FBI in order to spy on the congregation – or worse, to act as provocateurs?

    What was it the Son-O-God supposedly said about motes and eyes?

  31. paulie Post author

    This may explain why some in a liberal society are wary of those whom they believe are fundamentalists with political agendas.

    That concern is much more justified when those fundamentalists have the political power to enforce their agendas on those who don’t share their religion. When applied to minority religions, it seems to me more like an excuse for prejudice.

    Now, let’s consider why so many people in America are concerned with the Swiss banning of an architectural feature of Muslim Mosques while America assassinates Muslims by remote control drones because they are SUSPECTED of being Taliban members or “extremists”.

    I don’t see why being concerned with one would make me any less concerned about the other. Islamophobia is an excuse neither for imperialist aggression nor xenophobic repression.

    Let us also contemplate how many Mosques, with or without minarets, have not been built at all in America because zoning authorities refused to grant permission. This often happens even with Christian churches.

    While the PSL is unlikely to care about that, I do.

    Finally, how many American Mosques have been infiltrated by the FBI in order to spy on the congregation – or worse, to act as provocateurs?

    That should concern all of us who are outside the mainstream of political or religious opinion. If the regime will do it to them, they’ll do it to us too.

  32. Tom Blanton

    My only point here, Paulie, is that the Swiss minaret issue has gotten much more play in the American media than America’s transgressions against Islam on a global scale causing a reaction in Americans that seems misplaced.

    After decades of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic propaganda, I understand why some people are fearful of political Islam – this is not an excuse, it is an explanation for prejudice.

    I’m not concerned so much about who cares more about Muslims or why they do so, but it reveals the hypocrisy and myopia of the American public to point their finger at the Swiss while America detains, tortures, assassinates, kidnaps, bombs, and spies on Muslims as a matter of policy.

    I suppose it is all fine and good that we are concerned about Swiss discrimination against Muslims, but it sure rings hollow when Americans are neck deep in the blood of Muslims.

    How odd that Americans hold the citizens of a foreign country to a higher standard than they do of their own political leaders.

  33. Robert Capozzi

    tb, I have a lot of immigrant Muslim friends, and they generally report that their freedom of movement and ability to practice Islam is unaffected, even since 9/11. This IMO is heartening, as Americans are generally tolerant and accepting of foreigners and non-majority religions. It’s kind of impressive that despite 2 wars in Muslim nations, Americans behave this way.

    That some see the difference between a military action and daily life sounds evolved to me.

  34. paulie Post author

    I suppose it is all fine and good that we are concerned about Swiss discrimination against Muslims, but it sure rings hollow when Americans are neck deep in the blood of Muslims.

    How odd that Americans hold the citizens of a foreign country to a higher standard than they do of their own political leaders.

    Which Americans do you think hold the Swiss to higher standards than American leaders? The PSL? Me? Both?

  35. I slam, I lay cum

    “Islam is just not a religion that blends neatly into other cultures it comes into contact with, much as the cultural relativist apologists might want it to be. Jared Diamond refers to “bloody borders” around areas dominated by Islam, and he’s not exactly wrong about that. The simple reality is, Islam as given is completely intolerant of non-believers. That’s Islam as given in the Quran and Hadiths. ”

    Sounds like a dangerous cult which should be outlawed.

    HOW TO STOP ISLAMIC TERRORISTS…… it worked once in our History…

    Once in U.S. history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines about 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of the garrison. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, so “Black Jack” told his boys to catch the perps and teach them a lesson.

    Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The U.S. soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs’ blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs.

    All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

    Pointing a gun into the face of Islamic terrorists won’t make them flinch.

    They welcome the chance to die for Allah. Like Gen. Pershing, we must show them that they won’t get to Muslim heaven (which they believe has an endless supply of virgins) but instead will die with the hated pigs of the devil.

  36. As I lay cum, I slam islam

    Hmmm so big deal, some jerkoff with a blog couldn’t find confirmation? Big deal.

    I say let’s repeat the experiment a few thousand times and see what happens.

    Oh yeah, and nuke mecca!

  37. Marc Montoni

    I don’t support any minaret ban. In fact, I don’t support laws regulating property owners for any reason. Where such laws exist, they should be repealed; and where they can’t be repealed, they should apply to all without discrimination — including with respect to religious owners. Churches, mosques, and other cult/occult houses should face the same micromanagement that I do when I want to put a shed up in my back yard.

    The answer is to eliminate land-use regulation in its entirety.

    On the other hand…

    In this debate it is especially laughable that a country (Saudi Arabia) that confiscates bibles – even personal bibles – and executes “apostates” is calling for boycotting Switzerland over the minaret ban.

    Maybe the ire of Muslims worldwide over a relatively innocuous act in Switzerland would be better directed at their homelands, which are backwards, 7th-century dictatorships that are – without doing anything to deserve it – sitting atop piles of 20th century wealth that was discovered and developed by Americans and Brits.

    Maybe some self-policing and restraint in Muslim countries would lessen the “fear factor” non-Muslims have when confronted with Muslim immigration. Just as “blowback” follows the American reputation, “blowback” also follows the Muslim reputation.

    Hey, how about a trade: the minaret ban for a return of all the churches seized from Christians in Arab nations in the past 100 years?

    ————-

    There’s an Arab grocery store / restaurant near where I live. One day in 2007, while waiting for my order, the owner and his son and I became engaged in conversation over the “repeal the income tax / abolish the IRS” shirt I was wearing, plus the 9 on my hip.

    I made the mistake of asking how they felt about what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the next ten minutes I stood there and listened to them piling invective after invective on Jews (exact quote – I kid you not: “Jews have ruined the Middle East, they are scum.”), Israel (“they should be driven into the sea”) and GW Bush. I could have sworn I was talking to that neonazi Ahmadinejad.

    GW Bush I could understand.

    But the neonazi “drive the Jews into the sea” was just pure BS. For a second, I entertained the notion of whether it would be considered a public service to de-nazify the place. However, I left peacefully — but I certainly won’t patronize that little jihad training/recruitment house again.

    On the other hand, maybe I should continue patronizing them, and do some recruiting in the other direction. Libertarianism solves a lot of otherwise intractable conflicts.

    Arab problems have little to do with Israel, Jews, or Americans — and a lot to do with the stultifying, religion-dominated, communistic organization of their own societies. If Arab nations would concentrate on developing their economies and otherwise reward the production of wealth, they could safely ignore the Israelis, Jews, and even the occassional American adventurer president.

    But that’s too easy. It’s much easier to borrow a page from the 1930s and have a bogeyman (Jews, Americans) to blame than it is to liberalize the economy and get the religiocrats’ fat fingers out of the pie.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is pretty much correct when she says the different approaches to islamic immigration reflect the elite vs. the average working man. The people who don’t live in the protected, well-policed McMansion enclaves of the elite bear direct witness to the massive increases in crime that have come with waves of Muslim immigrants. It doesn’t help that imams openly exort their flock to do violence to non-muslims. Working-class people aren’t stupid. They can see what is coming with their own eyes because they’re living it now.

    Again, they’re not stupid. They are generally aware that the Middle East has become extremely homogeneous Islamic. They know enough history to know that the main reason for that homogeneity is because because with predictable regularity, muslims slaughter or forcibly convert religious minorities (Hindus, Jews, Christians, atheists, etc). Those purges have continued right into the 20th century; in fact it’s going on now in Albania, Kosovo, Syria, Iraq and many other majority-Muslim nations. They are, right now, today, systematically cleansing their territory of ethnic and religious minorities. Even EU-applicant “secular” Turkey is still actively engaged in wiping away its religious minorities.

    Better to take the whole church, and force its congregation to emigrate at the point of a sword, than to only take away a minaret or three.

    The European working class sees this coming. Backlash is understandable.

  38. Thiagan

    “Those who recommend integration must be considered pea-brained even if they are scholars and scientists. Just try mixing oil and vinegar. Then shake the bottle. After a moment the two substances will separate again. Do you really believe French society could absorb ten million Muslims, who would be twenty million tomorrow and forty million the day after? In fact, my own village would no longer be Colombey-les-deux-Églises but would rather come to be known as Colombey-les-deux-mosques.” Charles De Gaulle

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