Azara Blog: The Swiss hate Islam

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Date published: 2009/11/30

The BBC says:

Swiss voters have supported a referendum proposal to ban the building of minarets, official results show.

More than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons - or provinces - voted in favour of the ban.

The proposal had been put forward by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP), the largest party in parliament, which says minarets are a sign of Islamisation.

The government opposed the ban, saying it would harm Switzerland's image, particularly in the Muslim world.

But Martin Baltisser, the SVP's general secretary, told the BBC: "This was a vote against minarets as symbols of Islamic power."
Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets. After Christianity, Islam is the most widespread religion in Switzerland, but it remains relatively hidden.

There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning applications for new minarets are almost always refused.

Supporters of a ban claimed that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

But others say the referendum campaign incited hatred. On Thursday the Geneva mosque was vandalised for the third time during the campaign, according to local media.

Amnesty International said the vote violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss supreme court or the European Court of Human Rights.

This is not good for Switzerland. Switzerland has always had a rather benign image, in spite of being a safe haven for the money of drug barons and corrupt dictators. But there is no way this vote can be construed other than as an out and out admission by the Swiss that most of them are racist and/or Islamophobic and/or too dumb to know what they were voting for. The idea that minarets, or mosques for that matter, are "incompatible with Swiss democracy" is a joke. You might as well claim that churches are. Or supermarkets. Or petrol stations.

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