Arab World: Reactions to the Swiss Ban on Minarets

On Sunday, November 29, 57.5% of Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets atop mosques, paving the way for a constitutional amendment.  The referendum will affect the building of new minarets–not mosques–and will not effect Switzerland's four existing minarets.

The ban has sparked mixed reactions throughout the Arab and Muslim blogospheres: While some bloggers are outraged, others make the point that banning minarets does not hinder practicing the faith.

Lebanese-American Pierre Tristram, who blogs for, opens a post with this paragraph, condemning the Swiss decision:

How can 59 million people be so dumb, Britain's Daily Mail famously asked in a day-after headline of the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004. The Daily Mail can notch a new one for its shame gallery: How can 3 million Swiss be so bigoted?

Tristram closes with this scathing comment:  “The difference between your average Swiss and Iran‘s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the poster child of racist rants, has just gotten much narrower.”

Egyptian blogger Hicham Maged searches for an answer in his post, and concludes:

In a nutshell, I am looking forward for Swiss people to re-evaluate what happened; it is not only whether law protect citizen's rights or not, which is something important to debate and go for in the Swiss courts to correct for sure, but what is more important for me is that this fatal mistake should set up an alarm for not falling into the swamp of ignorance where nothing fill it but fear, anger and stupidity ~ Everywhere!

Another Egyptian blogger, whose blog is entitled Not Green Data, recognizes the credo that “a mosque is a mosque,” but laments the loss of the mosque's beauty in the Swiss ban:

Can you imagine a cube of Swiss Cheese, without its eyes – the holes in it? Or a Swiss Knife without the compass or the screwdriver? This is exactly what the Swiss people want to do with mosques. A mosque will remain a mosques without its Minarets, and it will still function the way it is supposed to function without them. But it will then loose its architectural identity and beauty.

British blogger Matthew Teller, a Middle East travel writer, focuses on the propaganda posters of various Swiss

A poster by the Swiss SVP calling for a ban of minarets

A poster by the Swiss SVP calling for a ban of minarets

campaigners, picking apart both sides of the battle in this post, describing the poster to the left:

The repulsive SVP, who’ve used what the Financial Times called “strident populism” to target ‘foreigners’ of all kinds in Switzerland as criminals, benefit cheats or worse, kicked off the campaign with the poster opposite: “Stop! Yes to the minaret ban”. Look at the imagery: minarets as missiles, women as menacing, the burqa as concealment, black as a threat, the Swiss flag cast into shadow from the east, the cross obliterated.

Algerian-American The Moor Next Door, seeing the ban as a power struggle, remarks:

The minaret, for its opponents, symbolizes Islam’s “arrival” in the Alps. It stands to proclaim the Muslim presence above other faiths and peoples. Banning it, then, is to ban a symbol of Muslim power and existence

The aesthetics of identity, and therefore power, are what the drive is really about. It is a way for a people in doubt to affirm and define their confused identity by rejecting that of the newcomer’s.

Syrian blogger Maysaloon has a unique perspective on what the most important narrative of this story is.  Setting aside the issues of bigotry, fear, and architectural integrity, the blogger makes the following point:

Neither Swiss bigotry, nor the religious or architectural significance of minarets are what is important about this story. What is important is that for the first time in 400 years, at least since the Ottomans besieged Vienna, Muslims are having a real impact on what is happening in Europe.

The blogger goes on to highlight the ways in which Islam has influenced the “west” and vice versa, concluding:

To sum it up, I am not worried about the bigots. Minarets and sharia can be banned, headscarves can be torn off, and all the cartoons in the world will not stop the fact that Islam is now in Europe, and it is in America, and it is spreading throughout the world.

To conclude, Mauritanian Twitter user weddady‘s comment on the end result of the referendum sums up well the sentiment of many.  He says, ” Now no one can pretend that Europe doesn't have a problem with Muslims, nor can anyone deny the extensive Islamist presence there.”


  • jay kactuz

    It is so touching to see Muslims complain about bigotry – elsewhere, of course. This from a people that discriminate against non-Muslims everywhere they dominate.

    The minarets, like the burqa, is harmless by itself –but it represents an ideology that is not. This belief, called Islam, can be directly linked to discrimination, hate and violence. Muslims tell us that Islam is about order, love and peace when their actions and scriptures tell us otherwise. Even the so-called “moderate” Muslims accept the terrible things written in the Quran and do not condemn the horrible things written in the Traditions.

    This isn’t hate or islamophobia; this is speaking out against an oppressive ideology. This is a line in the sand. For years the West has been nice to Islam and Muslims and we have gotten nothing but hate, violence and excuses in return. Muslims refuse to consider the evil they do. They always blame their problems on others, never on themselves or their religion. Being Muslim is to never say “sorry” or to even think.

    Strangely, I am sorry this happened. It was unnecessary. Instead of banning a building (or part of a building), all the Swiss had to do was be honest (and unPC) and ask the Muslims to explain their beliefs and the many passages in the Quran and ahadith that teach evil – the same ones that radicals use to justify their actions and the same ones the so-called moderates ignore.

    I have been looking at Muslim blogs and at least a few of them (very few) are reminding other Muslims about the discrimination they practice against non-Muslims in their society. Maybe there is hope. Probably not.


    • Khalid

      im sorry for you, but you seem totally at a wrong ideology about islam take a look on history if you want to know who is careful with others religions, last cetury the christians in europ burned alive thousends of jews and few centurys before when the Kingdom of Castill in spain invaded andalucia where Muslims were governing a perfect harmony of muslims christians and jews for one of the best harmonie exemples in the history religions, but once under spainsh kingdom millions of muslims were obliged to convert to christianity under order of the popes and later they all (millions of jews and muslims) were explused from ther to be a lost population where only muslims countries mainly morocco received, morocco also received even in last century thousand of european jews escaping for christian intolerance in europe…and so on…sorry man your vision and knowleg are at your nose.

      • Khalid

        another exemple when the christians arrived to jerusalem they exterminated all muslims living in the city, few years later when muslims recuperated the city they did not the same even the situation was the same and many extremist voices of course asked for the same act. I do believe that many extremist muslims acts are wrong but many of them are political driven acts and not purely coming from islamic religion, there are also some traditional acts that are wrong but if you look to the soon past even in comunities in occdident and even actually there also full of bad acts and descriminating acts from may be extremists…

        • Joe

          Wake up!

          All these things are in the past!

          The West left these wrong ideas behind! We are not proud of our mistakes.

          The Middle Age, that’s when the Crusades happened, are also known as The Age of the Darkness because it was a very sad time for the West too! We are glad we left that behind.

          It seems Muslims can’t leave the past behind, you guys want revenge for the Crusades. Why are you guys incapable to condemn Terrorism?

          You always come with this kind of thing: “Oh, but Europeans invaded Jerusalem, to form Spain the Kingdoms there fought the Muslims…”

          It’s past! And Islamic terrorism is present! Nobody in the West is saying our past mistakes are beautiful.

          Leave the past behind. Western old mistakes don’t justify Muslim present mistakes.

          • Khalid

            it was not to justify but it was just to tel our friend above that his religion is not as clean as he say, by the way all muslims countries bann the terrorism and are also victim of…you want absolutely to fix terrorism to islam while anyone can be a terrorist..the picture in the extremists propaganda in Switzerland is an exemple they linked everythink together islam= missiles, black thinks, nikab…i would vote same as swiss if dont know the truth..this is media influence !

  • […] a new one for its shame gallery: How can 3 million Swiss be so … Here is the original: Global Voices Online » Arab World: Reactions to the Swiss Ban on … Share and […]

  • Webster

    Whilst regretting the Swiss ban, we should consider the reason why. Why did nearly 60% of a cerebral well-informed people living in a civilized highly-evolved democratic country where 4 languages are spoken voted for it?
    The reason they did so is not hard to deduce. It is simply that they, and this is not a minority lunatic fringe, are very afraid of Islam.
    Islam cannot take pride in this. It should ask itself: Why are people afraid of us?


    • Webster, your implication is that Muslim countries are not highly evolved (or as linguistically evolved – which is just utterly false!)

      Additionally, why are you accusing Islam? Islam is not a person, nor can it speak. Ask Muslims. And remember, many Muslim countries do not give their people the vote, which is problematic when making comparisons.

  • Jan

    Kactuz: Islam is not, never has been and never will be a monolithic block. your generalizations about how “the muslims” are do not help anyone.

    admitatedly, the attitudes you are describing do exist in the islamic world, but can you show me data that credibly suggests that muslims everywhere are by nature unapologetic, stubborn people who reject rational thinking? I believe this point of view is based in fear and intolerance. it has developed over centuries in a climate of racism and hatred of muslim peoples by a west that feels superior to other cultures and religions. sadly this attitude exists till this very day.

    I join everyone who critizises inhumane treatment of women and midevil morals, as exist in parts of the muslim world. not because its perpetrated by muslims, but because it goes against the human dignity that i deeply believe in.

    i also say we should extend an arm to those who are open-minded (which doesnt mean they have to think like us) and are willing to talk. i dont need to remind you that the western world has had (and still has) more than its fair share in bakward, barbaric and arrogant behavior. the iraq war being only the last in a long line of colonialism, imperislism, racism, anti-semitism and whatnot. if we want to critizise, we should start with ourselves and try to make ourselves better. we are not at the end of our development as a civilization. we should keep this in mind. the current referendum in switzerland shows this.

    the west has progressed far on the way to achieve a genuine respect for human rights and freedom. let’s not disgrace this heritage of enlightenment by turning back to bigotry and intolerance. people should have the right to build places of worship. we can not be upset at saudi-arabia for banning churches and at the same time do the same.

    what’s happening in switzerland right now is undermining the very essence of what’s great about western liberal democracy.
    I am ashamed for my fellow europeans.

    Jan, 25, Germany

    • Jan, thank you for your comments. I wish I had a dollar for every “Muslims are not a monolithic block” quote. True – but they all share many characteristics that are common and therefore one can generalize — or even stereotype (Oh horrors!). All Muslims accept the Quran. They all believe Mohammud to the great prophet and a moral example. Almost all accept the ahadeeth in one form or another. In the same manner, I think it is fair to point out that Muslim countries are, for the most part, chronic human rights abusers. They also have a long history of discrimination against non-Muslims and a bunch of another groups, including other Muslim sects. Based upon these simple facts I think it is fair to judge Muslims as a group.

      Yes, I can easily show you that “Muslims everywhere are by nature unapologetic, stubborn people who reject rational thinking”. I can quote you dozens of passages in the Quran that defy all reason, but then again maybe the sun does set into a muddy field. Perhaps you might care to show me the mass movements in Islamic societies that are speaking up for non-Muslims, or maybe calling for the end of the apostasy laws. Six people in a room mourning the death of a Coptic nun or three bloggers in jail do not qualify. Please enlighten as to which Islamic societies support freedom of speech, particularly when it is critical of Islam. Perhaps you might kindly point out a Muslim site that is dedicated to analyzing the verses in the Quran that teach hate and violence against infidels. A discussion of 9:111 will do. Better yet, give me a couple of good links to Muslim sites that question the morality of Mohammud attacking villages at night or letting his men rape the captives. I guess that pretty much takes care of that question.

      About the climate of “racism and hatred” you talk about. Obviously you don’t read Muslim sites much, do you? If you want pure hate, backed by the words of a god called Allah, I can give you links. As to racism, you need to talk with minorities and migrants, particularly those of dark complexion, that have lived among Muslims. Of course, to people like you, hate and discrimination is only bad if it is done by white, European and/or Christian people.

      Yes, there is sexism and abuse of women everywhere, but it is only institutionalized among certain peoples, specifically in a certain religion. To suggest that women in the west suffer the same problems as women in Islamic societies is an affront to intelligence. Speaking of women and intelligence, I suppose you know what Mohammud said about this…

      So we have to “extend an arm” do we? I doubt if people who do not believe in equality and the basic freedoms we enjoy qualify as “open minded”? I am not talking about the Muslims in the West that say they believe in these ideals because they may or not be sincere. In fact, until Islamic societies change, I see no reason to believe that the so-called “moderates” in the West really accept these ideals. I think that is reasonable and I wont hold my breath.

      In case you haven’t noticed, people in the West have been criticizing ourselves and our institutions for centuries. It is part of those freedoms we enjoy that have given us so much – the same ones that you don’t think are important for Muslims, the same ones that Islam wants to end – or maybe it was a Hindu carrying that sign “Freedom of speech go to hell.”. Because Muslims cannot, will not criticize Islam, nothing changes. As to “colonialism, imperialism, racism, anti-semitism and whatnot” I assume you are unaware of Muslim history. The West hardly has a monopoly on these evils, but you make no demands of anybody else. As long as it is not the Western society abusing others, use could care less. You have different standards for different people, or in the case of Muslims, you seem to think we should not hold them accountable for anything. This is an very repugnant form of racism, in that you believe “the other” to be incapable of moral actions and intellectual processes.

      You have your ideals backwards. I am speaking up for freedom and equality. You are making excuses for those who persecute, abuse and enslave. You do not help people by looking the other way. I am sure your attitude makes you feel good because you are “sensitive” and “caring” but it would be nice if your ego did not depend on ignoring the brutalized bodies of young girls or the repression of basic freedoms in the name of a 7th century religious ideology.

      This stupid banning of stupid minarets is good because it sends a message, a very mild message. Contrary to what you say, we are not banning churches or even mosques. Read the articles, again. I doubt, however, if Muslims will look at what they do and how they treat non-Muslims. Muslims seem to be incapable of self-reflection or any criticism of their sacred tenants. It is because of the so-called moderate Muslims and people like you that things are going to get worse. Instead of speaking up for the heritage of the enlightenment, you are silent in the face of a fascist ideology that enslaves man woman and children. Worse yet, you make excuses for them.

      Have a nice day. kactuz

      • Jan

        Have you ever met the people you are talking about? Have you ever talked to the average muslim you so confifently generalize? have you been invited to tea by an hospitable arab, or been to a family gathering in indonesia, which is, as you are likely to know the biggest muslim country on earth?
        i have. ok, that doesnt mean i nescecarilly know more about ‘islam’ than you, but what i do know is that i have never in my whole life a muslim the likes of who you are talking about. and i have met quite a few. so if the picture you are painting is true, then i must have been very lucky.

        but still. i dont think your picture is accurate. it is full of culturally biased presumptions. you paint the muslims as backward and uncivilized. this is something that has a very long history in western perception of other cultures.

        and you want liberal and open minded muslims? start here:

        or try reading a book: “Liberal Islam: a sourcebook” by charles kurzman.

        lets talk again after you have made an effort of understanding the other side, rather than burrying yourself in your own stereotypes and generalizations.

        and again, you havent provided me with data. your claims are based on your assumptions.

        let me give you a number. according to the US gov’t 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. i am sure similar numbers exist in many other countries. dont tell me violence againts women is only ‘institutionalised’ in certain cultures. violence against women is an ‘institution’ (an established practice) everywhere on earth.

        of course parts of the muslim world are in a difficult situation. from many points of view. but my friend, most muslims would probably agree with you if you stopped attacking them for their religious allegiance.

        you wouldnt attack christians because of whats written in the bible, would you?

        would you attack me personally because of the holocaust, just because i am german? i pressume you wouldnt. yet you judge over 1 billion people based on what little knowledge you have of their religion from reading online. why dont you just travel to egypt, or lebanon or malaysia or anyother country with a predominantly muslims population? get to know people, and understand they are not inhumane monsters, but actualy quite nice. at least they are not worse than what i see in europe.

        i am not happy with a lot of things that people do, but can we please stop this awful practice of linking it to their race or religion!!

        there are lots of stupid ignorant germans. i know this for a fact because i see them around me. yes there are even thiefs, rapists and killers here in this country. we don’t attribute it to them being german. we didnt blame all of the catholic church for what the IRA did. and we should not do this to the millions of muslims who haven’t wronged us and deserve the same respect and dignity that we expect.

        and i do not ignore “the brutalized bodies of young girls”. i am going to critizise every inhumane person who tortures, beats women, blows himself up or whatever else. but lets stop linking it to a religion. thats just dumb. i wouldnt say all americans are messed up because of what violence you see in the getthos of chicago. i will say its mainly an economic issue. i won’t blame all rwandans for a genocide perpetrated by fanatics and i will not ever be so arrogant as to say that ALL muslims are barbarians because the media reports the brutal stoning of a young girl.

        you have a good day too.

        jan, germany

        • jay kactuz

          Jan, I notice you didn’t answer my question about pointing out Muslim sites that discuss the hate and violence in the Quran and hadith. Why am I not surprised? Muslims never consider the words of their own scriptures. Why would we expect them to care about the hate and violence they do? They have no standards for themselves, but want other to respect them.

          I can’t write much today because I have to put up stupid Christmas lights. I don’t want to but the lady says I have to or else. After 40 years of marriage, I know what is good for me, or else.

          It minarets issue is not about bricks and mortar. It is all about OUTRAGE. Muslims are always outraged about something (laws, cartoons, clothing, Jews, music, minarets). This, I guess, gives meaning to their lives. Muslims obviously don’t care about hate and violence, but a silly ban on towers makes them froth at the mouth.

          For example, a Muslim woman is killed in Germany and the outrage boils over: dozens and dozens of 50 comments, 11 pages here at GVO:

          The killer in Germany is condemned. 2 comments only (one mine):

          In that post I asked about the men women and children that were burned alive in a church in Pakistan soon after the woman was killed in Germany. Yawn. Muslims dont care. It was only infidels. No outrage.

          Read Chapter 19 of Muslim’s ‘reliable’ hadith. Where is any outrage to the events described in Islam’s on traditions?

          Mohammud and his followers attack villages, herd women around as slaves, rape them, kill innocent women and children in attacks and no outrage. I lost count of how many immoral actions and attacks on non-Muslims are in this one chapter. Now if an American army unit kills innocent people in Iraq or Afghanistan there is outrage (rightly so!) but if Islam’s prophet and his followers (ie, the “best of generations”) do worse, Muslims can only say “Praise be unto him”. No outrage.

          If an old woman is split open, does it bother Muslims?

          Nope, more praises to the man considered a “Mercy for all mankind” – well, maybe not all. No outrage.

          This last week 40 were killed in a mosque in Rawalpindi, Pakistan – by Muslims. Where is the outrage? Nobody cares because it is just Muslims killing Muslims. Business as usual (Quran 9:111). Well, I guess Muslims cant say anything because Mohammud himself attacked mosques (Quran 9:107, 110) and he is Islam’s great example. No outrage. Oh well.

          Notice that when I make statements I give facts, verses and links.

          Muslims will not live in peace with non-Muslims. They ‘submit’ to Islam and so their values are not those of the West. No matter how nice non-Muslims are to Muslims, they will continue to preach hate, attack us and complain about discrimination. As I have said 10000 times, it will get worse. There will be blood in the streets.

        • Jan I had a chance to go over your list of “liberal and open minded” muslim sites. Here are my impressions of each.

          Good site. Read her book years ago. Brave woman.

          No reform there and not progressive. Site has lots of big words, lots of words but no deep analysis of hard issues. This basic message: Non-Muslims don’t understand islam, Muslims don’t understand islam. Islam is perfect. According to Khan, any nonMuslim that criticizes Islam is uninformed or a bigot

          Pretty much the same as above. A collection of pointless articles, Muslims making excuses and, you guessed it, non-Muslims don’t understand Islam. Most articles distort and deny the obvious.
          I found very little real thinking. Take one sentence: “Now even a cursory look at the Qur’an would reveal that its message about God is that of uncompromising monotheism.”
          Where is the thinking there? Does not Allah use the plural “we” in the Quran dozens of times? Is this “uncompromising”? If Allah is God alone, why does the Quran say that Allah and the prophet make decisions together? Why does it say that “to obey the prophet is to obey Allah”? It seems that Allah and Mohammad are partners, they even split plunder. In the hadith it says”the earth belongs to Allah and the prophet.” Oh? A joint account? It seems that while Christians have the trinity, Islam has a ‘biety’ or ‘duality’ with Allah and Mohammad as partners. The only issue is who is the senior partner since every time there is a contraction between Mohammad and Allah, Allah loses (ex: Quran says to pray 3 times a day, Mohammud in hadith says 5; or the Quran says “no compulsion in religion, Mohammud says “kill anybody that changes his (Islamic) religion. Mohammad wins again.). See, Jan, that is analysis. That is thinking and criticizing a text. I don’t know what Mulims are doing, but when it is a matter of Islam, they park their brains in the garage.

          Let me see, first article TR says Swiss are bigots, 2nd article says Jews control conservatives, 3rd article: Pakistan’s problems are Indias fault. 4th article: Fort Hood has nothing to do with Islam

          Yep, lot of original, deep thinking there

          Quote: “Muslims for Progressive Values is guided by ten principles rooted in Islam, including social equality, separation of religion and state, freedom of speech, women’s rights, gay rights, and critical analysis and interpretation.”

          What can I say? Yeah, dream on. Those ten values are found everywhere in the Islamic world. Right? Strange that the article doesn’t explain exactly where they are rooted in Islam. Hummm, I don’t remember the verse about gay rights in the Quran. Must have missed it. This site is a joke.

          A collection of weak articles from an Indonesian perspective. They can’t figure out how to counter increased radicalism and they don’t understand why religious minorities, including the Ahmadiyah sect, are persecuted. Oh yes, it is because Muslims are not practicing the real Islam

          This is a “collection of links to sites and authors devoted to discussion or promotion of liberal themes”

          This site is related to above (Islamlib). Many links, few of which qualify as liberal. Note the prominent position of MSA (Muslims students Association) a leading voice is shutting down any criticism of Islam on US campuses
          Quote: “Although the West has largely ignored the liberal tradition within Islam”. No, it is Islam that has ignored any liberal interpretation. Perhaps you have seen the words “avoid any innovation” on about 1,000,000 Muslims sites.
          Note quote saying that this site refers to “these authors are well-known in their own countries as advocates of democracy and tolerance..”
          So I ask: (a) have they made any progress? No. Bummer; and (b) If the are advocating “democracy and tolerance” it must be because these aren’t found in Islamic societies. Guess what? these authors say it is because Muslims are not practicing the real Islam

          Jan, only the first site, by the lesbian, qualifies as liberal and open minded in my book. The rest are the same stuff we see everywhere, everyday. I found very little thinking or analisys in any. It seemed that the basic objective of all these sites was to find somebody or something to blame for the problems we see in islam and Muslims.

          Of course there is some logic there. If Islam is perfect, as Muslims believe, then the problem cannot be Islam. Right?


    • artcxr

      The scripture of the Koran demands the dominance of the Koran. Holy wars are a thing of the past. Culture wars are in vogue. This is a a cultural war.

      Islam will overtake the West though openings in well intentioned and fair-minded liberal politics that allow such freedoms. It is an unfortunate truth. Don’t believe me. You only have to wait.

      Human rights is an ironic issue here. Show me the data on human rights in Islamic countries? Perhaps Quidaffi’s son’s treatment of his servants or Afganistan’s treatment of its female population can serve as examples. I’m just wondering where in the Arab world are non-Muslim’s given respect? What is the percentage there?

      Switzerland is a small country and in the very unenviable and politically incorrect position of having to set limits to maintain its cultural identity. It has the right to resist having its cultural identity rewritten by a powerful group of outsiders who it has graciously allowed to live within its boarders and practice their religion for decades.

      By the way, tourists do not come to Switzerland to see the minarets.

  • Jan

    minarets have as little to do with terrorists as the stadium floodlights have to do with hooligans.

    • Joe

      Muslims want to build minarets as a symbol of power. That’s why they want to build a huge one in Cologne, Germany. They didn’t want a simple one, it had to be huge enough to compete with the Cathedral. It was more than a minaret, it was a symbol of power.

      I don’t think floodlights are a symbol of anything.

  • Yes, this ban is ridiculous and thankfully we don’t do this sort of thing here in America.

    But you gotta love some liberals who always feel the need to try and compare the very real and relevant threat TODAY from Islamic terrorism to “Christian terrorism”. Not only are the number of people slaughtered in recent memory at the hands of both about as far apart as you can get, but there is hardly a worldwide effort currently being engaged in fighting “Christian terrorism”.

    Let me ask you Foghorn, do you do it to minimize Islamic terrorism or are you just a baseless fear monger trying to elevate “Christian terrorism”?

    Either way, it’s laughable and ridiculous.

  • Webster

    Jillian, I suggest you read my comments again. I have not accused anybody of anything. I wouldn’t dream of doing so. And I have not implied anything either. I have said what I have said merely in order that people can understand ‘the Why?’
    Switzerland is a land which hasn’t had a war for over 400 years and where Italian-Swiss, German-Swiss, French-Swiss and Swiss-Swiss all live in harmony. It is the home of, for example, the International Large Hadron Collider. It is also the home of the cuckoo clock. Now, ask yourself, why almost 60% of such a peace-loving cosmopolitan intelligent forward-thinking people should fear the symbols of Islam. Please ask it. Do not put words into my mouth. We may then make some progress.

    • You know as well as I do what you want me to say. I won’t.

      There is no reason to fear Islam or its symbols, period. Could you also perhaps recognize that there are Muslim-majority countries that haven’t been involved in a war of their own doing for centuries either?

      Also Webster, forward-thinking? Switzerland was the last European country to give women the vote…in 1974, long after many Muslim countries. Chew on that.

      • Joe


        Islam has its leaders and they are out there preaching jihad against us.

        Islamic values are totally against the Western values (actually Christian and Jewish values).

        Democracy, tolerance, freedom of religion, freedom of speach, right to vote are meaningless for them. They like these rights when they are in the West, because our tolerance allows them to be intolerant and fight our values in our own countries.

        The only muslim country that share some values with the West is Turkey. Why? Because the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, adopted the Swiss Civil code and tried to ban Islam from public life. Here goes what he thinks about Islam:

        “Islam, this absurd theology of an immoral Bedouin, is a rotting corpse which poisons our lives.”- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

        • What’s this “we” you speak of? Don’t speak for me, as someone born in the so-called west. I am not a Christian or a Jew, and I don’t agree with the patriarchal values of those religions (nor do I agree with all of the values of Islam, mind you – only some).

          Your words are incredibly ignorant. Islam follows the plane of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and while yes, some things are different, the core values – family, peace, modesty – seem the same to me.

          • Joe

            There were the Jewish traditions. Jesus came with new ideias. Any tradition the Jewish tradition against what Jesus said should be abandoned.

            Then Mohamed came and everything that contradicted his teachings should be abandoned. And the Coran is full of things Jesus taught we should not accept anymore.

            Your name tells you are Western. You can pretend Muslim terrorism is not against you, but it won’t change the fact that it is against you too.

            The idea of “West” is not about being Jew or Christian. Judeo-Christian traditions are an important part of if, but not all. Freedom, democracy, tolerance, civil rights, individual rights and other values are huge achievements for the West. And everybody knows some of these achievements happened despite Catholic opposition, for example. We are not ruled by religions anymore, we left that behind. Muslims don’t accept it and want everybody to live by their rules. Why Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i never had a problem in Western countries? Because they are tolerant when they are minority and when they are majority. Muslims are not tolerant when they are majority and they manage to be intolerant even when they are minority and immigrants. Islam is more than religion! The Coran has teachings about food, dressing code, war, politics and religion.

            Let me be clear: I am not saying the West is better than everywhere else and everybody should do as Westerns do. I am just saying the West must not grant tolerance to people who are doing everything they can do destroy tolerance. People who will use the Wertern values and freedoms to fight these values and freedoms.

            Not only the West is under Muslim attack. Anybody who doesn’t accept the Muslim ideology is under attack. Read a little bit about the Muslims from Thailand. They kill their fellow countrymen for nothing, just to terrorize, to keep the non-Muslims away from the provinces where they are majority. I lived among the Thais for a good time and not once I had problems for not being Buddhist. They are tolerant. Muslims are not.

            I am not advocating any attack against Muslims. I just don’t think anybody has the right to impose anything on anybody. I don’t want to force them to live by our rules, and I think they should stop trying to force us to live by theirs. Live and let live!

    • Webster, I suggest you read up on Swiss history, politics and society.

      Switzerland has not fought a war for a long time, but it has strong militaristic traditions to this day – and for hundreds of years found it politically expedient to send its mercenaries off to fight elsewhere. And is an exporter of arms – which hardly makes it “peace-loving”.

      And when you mention “harmony” (what does that mean, actually? That everyone likes each other?) you say “Italian-Swiss, German-Swiss, French-Swiss and Swiss-Swiss” – who on earth are the Swiss-Swiss?

      The Swiss are “cosmopolitan intelligent forward-thinking people” – how meaningless; there are also narrow-minded, xenophobic people as in other countries.

      Incidentally, 60% of the population wanted this ban? No, the figure was 57.5% of the 53% who voted.

      When making an argument at least base it on facts…

  • Webster

    Once again you have replied with assumptions about me and what I think, which incidentally are very wide of the mark.

    Here is the point.-
    You say “there is no need to fear Islam or its symbols, period”.

    Please tell us then why YOU think 6 out of 10 Swiss people fear the minarets, the symbols of Islam?
    And then please tell us why the Swiss should not fear the symbols of Islam.

    You see, it’s all very well saying that all is lovely in the garden but if people living there imagine there’s a dragon behind the tree (even though there isn’t one) how are you going to convince them that it’s all in their irrational minds – that’s a problem.

    We should recall how it was with the Jews in Germany – the night of broken glass for example – and how easily populist politicians can turn such fear into a frenzy. Therefore when we discuss, and attempt to resolve or at least understand something about these matters it is imperative that we can do so without dodging the main issue. In this case the main issue is fear.

    If we fail to ask ‘Why?’ then the whole discussion is a pointless exercise for it will only result in allegation and counter-allegation. And it will get nowhere.

    • Webster,

      I have asked why and my answer in few words is that lights have been always spotted on the extreme actions done by terrorists where as same lights disappear when it comes to normal Muslims who follow principals of Islam and hence stereotypes prevail.

      Nevertheless, as a devoted Muslim, many Muslims including myself do criticize such actions by other Muslims either who are going extreme or turned to be terrorists because in this case, they apply their own vision about Islam, not what Islam call for and here there is a sharp line between Islam and what Muslims do; same as the line between any idology and how people apply it wrong!

      Now tell me, who see this? I am not for generalizing but you know the answer, especially when people rely on media and (hatred) websites as their source for information about Islam.

      • jay kactuz


        Tell me, have you actually read the Quran? I doubt it – or maybe words mean nothing to you. Do you really think the Quran has no verses calling for violence and hate against non-Muslims? Try 5:32 and 9:111.

        Until Muslims acknowledge and renounce the dark side of Islam nothing changes. You need to do more than just “criticize the actions of other Muslims” or pretend that any negative image of Islam is due to ignorance. You need to condemn verses that preach hate against others. Have you actually read Bukhari, Muslim, Malik, Dawud, and other early hiistories? Notice anything? You need to look at the stories in the ahadith and tell us that those actions are evil – unless raids, killing, plunder, enslavement and rape are OK with you. Since these things are everywhere in Islamic writings, how exactly are they against the principles of Islam?


        PS: It would also be nice if Muslims would stop discriminating against women, non-Muslims, gays, even other sects of Muslims in those lands where they dominate. That would make your protest a little more serious and effective.

  • Joe

    For a very long time the West has granted tolerance and freedom that allowed Muslims to immigrate to Western countries and be intolerant with our values and freedoms.

    The conflict between Christian Europe and the Muslim World is what shaped what we call today \The West\. Islam was always opposed to the West. Opposed! Never a part of it!

    Tolerance must not be granted for those who want to destroy tolerance.

  • masihi banda

    Don’t come crying now, it’s about time somebody took a stand against the Islamic bigotry and practice. I wish more Western Nations showed some gutts in banning this religion altogether and help remove the problems it creates.
    It is not a news flash, all mosques are haven for terrorists and the evil they preach and practice. All their symbols point to the worship of the moon god allah. The Swiss govt. has taken baby steps to treat muslims as they treat others in the muslim world, and halt the advance of the draconian sharia-run-religion. Quran boldly teaches the eradication of Christianity. Take a good look at what this teaching has spawned all over the world: nothing but the terror and violence, and immense human misery. Long live the Swiss ban!

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Stay up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details. Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site