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 construction of new minarets (not mosques) and will not affect Switzerland's four existing minarets. Jillian York covered the initial reactions from the Arab and Muslim blogosphere. The ban is still creating ripples of tension among the supporters and opposition.
Mona ElTahawy has one question for Switzerland and other European countries enthralled by the right wing:
When did Saudi Arabia become your role model?
Even before 57.5 percent of Swiss voters cast ballots on Sunday to ban the building of minarets by Muslims, it was obvious that Switzerland’s image of itself as a land of tolerance was as full of holes as its cheese. When the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) came to power in 2007, it used a poster showing a white sheep kicking black sheep off the country’s flag. This was no reference to black sheep as rebels — the right wing doesn’t do cute — but to skin color and foreigners.
Posters the SVP displayed before Sunday’s referendum showed women covered from head to toe in black, standing in front of phallic-looking minarets. Such racism preceded and fed into the bigotry that fueled the referendum.
Still enraged by the notion of politicizing the minarets, ElTahawy says:
Minarets are used to issue the call to prayer, not to recruit people to Islamic political groups. If the SVP finds such prayer calls too noisy, I’d like to see it try to stifle church bells.
Mohaly wishes that:
the Swiss people would have proven to the world how unbiased and coherent they are, and instead of voting against building minarets, they could have simply voted for having the most prominent swiss product “Clocks” fixed over each new minaret (check the picture). It can be a beautiful architecture holding a practical instrument that can be of benefit for everyone without positiong it as a “Muslim Missile”!
Nawara Negm pointed a finger at bigotry:
Nawara reminds those who are calling for tolerance now of their earlier intolerance:
In her post, Mona ElTahawy also touches on this issue:
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, for example, denounced the ban as an “attack on freedom of belief.” I would take him more seriously if he denounced in similar terms the difficulty Egyptian Christians face in building churches in his country. They must obtain a security permit just for renovations.
Last year, the first Catholic church — bearing no cross, no bells and no steeple — opened in Qatar, leaving Saudi Arabia the only country in the Persian Gulf that bars the building of houses of worship for non-Muslims. In Saudi Arabia, it is difficult even for Muslims who don’t adhere to the ultra-orthodox Wahhabi sect; Shiites, for example, routinely face discrimination.
Bigotry must be condemned wherever it occurs.
Muslims against Sharia found Libya's President Gaddafi's statement funny; he said “Swiss minaret ban invites al-Qaeda attacks.”
Therein lies the assumption that all acts of jihadist terrorism must be a response to some kind of provocation (real or imagined) from non-Muslims: after all, the apologists keep telling us “defensive” jihad is quite alright, caliph or no caliph.
The Fraggle-haired dictator also quips “I don't think anyone in the Muslim world will from now on authorise the construction of a church.”
This is ironic, of course, since 1.) it's not like the Muslim world has welcomed churches or freedom of worship with open arms up to now, and 2.) restrictions on building non-Muslim houses of worship are enshrined in the Pact of Umar, which has provided a far-reaching precedent for oppressing non-Muslims in a variety of ways. For that matter, the minaret ban does not restrict worship or the construction of mosques.
While Shokeir is monitoring signs of Western Countries getting fed up with the symbols of Islam
Hassan El Helali, on the other hand, is relieved and he highlighted one of the comments on his post: