Sunday, November 29, 2009

Swiss architecture foolishness

Today the Swiss people have decided in a referendum to ban minarets, an architectural feature found on some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, because of their association with Muslims.

A worrying 57.5% people voted against new minarets being built, with opposition particularly concentrated in the French speaking West. What's even more disturbing is the way that the creators of the motion are clearly barking mad.

"The initiators of the measure, the right-wing ”Erkingen Committee,”... claimed minarets were an attempt to spread radical Islam in Switzerland, said the vote would bar any attempt to introduce elements of Sharia law in Switzerland."

What? I mean... what? People actually voted with these morons? There's no movement to introduce Sharia law in Switzerland and what the hell have minarets got to do with anything? Since when did the shape of a building threaten liberal democracy? They can't all be simpletons can they?

The Swiss Green Party is investigating whether they can challenge this result legally. Before the vote they issued the following statement (apologies for the rough and ready translation where I've strived for meaning rather than literal meaning).

NO to the minaret prohibition

Switzerland is a liberal and democratic constitutional state. A country, which retains internal cohesion with its linguistic, cultural and religious variety. The freedom of religion is embodied in the Swiss condition.

The referendum, which seeks to create a general prohibition on the building of minarets, shakes the foundations of our constitution. It is discriminating because it wants to forbid Muslims from using one of their religious symbols. It thereby wants to refuse them a right, which the other religious communities have.

The initiative endangers the constitutional state and the internal cohesion of Switzerland. It polarizes opinion and hinders the factual correction of prejudices and wrongly reduces our enemies to Islam.

The freedom of religion may not be abolished. That would be a dishonor for our country and an abuse of direct democracy. Therefore the Greens call on all voters on 29th November to place a clear, convinced no to a deeply un-Swiss project into the ballot box.
The irrational fear of Islam as a whole is an extremely poor way of preventing Muslims from hating you. Come to that I've taken the Swiss off my Christmas card list myself.


Gregory A. Butler said...

This isn't a question of "Swiss Foolishness" - this is a question of SWISS RACISM.

Jim Jay said...

Do you know what - I don't think I used the word racism in the entire post (apart from the tag) - I've no idea how that happened as the entire time I was typing this I was thinking "what a bunch of racist a-holes"

Derek Wall said...

very disturbing, getting a lot of comments on my blog from people who think Muslims have three heads.

may be we need to boycott fondue sets.

David Cox said...

This would be an abomination in any democratic society, but for Switzerland it is a betrayal of the fundamental founding principles of the nation – religious tolerance. Many of the Muslims in Switzerland are from former Yugoslavia, an ancient European Muslim people who offer the best hope of developing a civic Islam. They are also refugees from a country where destroying minarets was symbolic of the ethnic cleansing of villages and towns.
Switzerland is a member of the Council of Europe, ergo a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 9 of the ECHU, provides for: “Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” I hope there is a challenge in the European Court of Human Rights. Switzerland is part of a community of nations if it wants to be part of EFTA and the Council of Europe it must behave like a civilised country.

Steve Durrant said...

This bothers me because the islamophobes here and elsewhere will cite it as an example. Frothing lunatic hatred is going mainstream. Suits the establishment. Divide and Rule. Same ole same ole.

ModernityBlog said...

Good post.

It just shows we need to expose those anti-Muslim bigots, whether or not they are dressed in suits, as the Swiss People's party are, or in the form of the English Defence League.

John Mullen said...

Steve is right. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in France, Nicolas Sarkozy has made general comments in support of the swiss ban on Minarets (even if most of the Left here have condemned the ban, which is unheard of, the Left in France being sadly very islamophobic.)