30
Nov
09

On air: Switzerland bans minarets

‘In Switzerland, we feel more that this minaret ban is a symbol that we are a well-run direct democracy. It also allows us to keep the presence of our cultural identity. However, I fear that Islamic nations may react wrongly to this,’ so says Charles-Alexander from Switzerland. And he’s one of thousands of you, who’ve got in touch about this ban. What’s your reaction?

TM in Geneva says: I am a Muslim and I am a Swiss. Until today I was proud to be Swiss. I had great faith that Swiss people would overthrow this ridiculous initiative.It is wrong to judge Islam and Muslims by the actions of extremists.

WE’VE NOTICED THESE ARE PARTICULAR ISSUES YOU’RE DEBATING ALREADY:

- What does this result show? That Switzerland, and more broadly Europe is protecting it’s culture and way of life? Or is this a case of religious intolerance and lack of understanding of Islam?

- Have the Swiss done what the rest of Europe would like to be able to do?

- Does Europe have a problem with Islamophobia?

- Is ‘defending’ one’s culture necessarily discriminatory?

- Can such decisions be attributed to a post 9-11 fear of Islam?

- Is this a justified reaction to Muslims’ perceived unwillingness to integrate in Western societies?

MORE FROM SHEETAL
The Swiss referendum on banning minarets has surprised many after it was expected only 34% of the Swiss people would support it. But after the vote at the weekend, nearly 60% voted in favour, and the Swiss government has expressed dismay that they weren’t able to inform Swiss citizens to reject the ban. Switzerland’s Justice Minister said the vote was a reflection of the fear of losing Swiss culture and the uncertainties around Islamic fundamentalism.

The vote has got Muslims around the world asking if this is a clear indication of intolerance against Islam. Professor Tariq Ramadan , a Swiss citizen, believes there is a “narrow-minded lack of trust in Muslims” that has fuelled this ‘populist’ vote.

The question remains – In a country where only four minarets exist, what did this ban hope to achieve? This blog has varied answers. And this one says the campaign leading up to the referendum was racist and the rhetoric offensive.


290 Responses to “On air: Switzerland bans minarets”


  1. 1 James Ian
    November 30, 2009 at 11:24

    “Does the Swiss referendum show a fear of Islam?”

    Justly so

    • 2 Mick Tagg
      December 1, 2009 at 12:59

      Of course there isn’t Islamphobia in Europe, just a genuine fear of the intolerant exclusive and can we say fascist culture which is Islam. How many so called moderate Muslims protest against Islamic fundamentalism as against the thousands that protest in favour of murdering non-Muslims, burning books, and anything else that criticises Islam. In Europe we already have seen people killed for opposing fanatical beliefs and burning books. It is no wonder peoples reaction is so overwhelmingly against Islam as it reminds us so much of the 1930’s and we don’t want a return to the 1940’s

      • 3 Bob
        December 2, 2009 at 18:24

        Of course the muslims will complain about this result!! The steady creep of intolerant muslims across the world has been checked (not stopped) by the Swiss who have thrust aside apathy and said what we all want to say. Stay in our country but do not force your culture on us. Live among us but don’t force us to live like you. If you don’t like our laws…..go somewhere where the laws that you want are in place

      • 4 Bob
        December 2, 2009 at 23:26

        I don’t think that it so much that christians/europeans see muslims as terrorists all of the time. It is the steady and relentless creeping dominence of their culture and their reluctance to accept that they are in a foreign country with its own culture and customs.

        A bit like the red & grey squirrel in the UK

  2. 5 Nigel
    November 30, 2009 at 11:38

    As usual it seems that there are a number of issues:
    1. The thought of minarets standing tall amidst the quaint Swiss architecture gives me shudders five thousand miles away.
    2. How can Charles-Alexander be talking about democracy when people are being told their freedeom of right to reigion and expression has been voted out. The democratic process has worked but produced an undemocratic result
    3. How many Swiss Muslims voted in favour of the minarets?

    • November 30, 2009 at 16:11

      Referenda are a bad way to defend the interest of minorities.

      By the way: it took the Swiss untill the mid-eighties, before women got the vote in all Cantons.

      Equal rights for men and women were attained only in 1985! Switzerland is really not an example to follow.

  3. November 30, 2009 at 12:16

    Salaam,
    This referendum shows that religious intolerance, irrational fear, ignorance and cultural insensitivity are prevalent among the Swiss who ironically boast of having a direct democracy in which the majority steps over the minority… But frankly speaking, I couldn’t care less about this whole thing… So what if Switzerland becomes the newest member of the “Who steps over religious minorities best ?” club ? After all there’re so many other older members (like Saudi Arabia, Iran, ect.,). The Swiss should be so proud of themselves for letting religious intolerance, fear, ignorance, prejuidices, and cultural insensitivity hijack their direct democracy, kudos to you guys, really … With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 10 Bob
      December 2, 2009 at 18:38

      How can you accuse the Swiss of intolerance. When was the last time a Swiss national screamed for a muslim head to be hacked off because of their religion? When was the last time one of them blew up a crowded underground train?
      When was the last time a muslim country allowed a Christian bible to be sold in a shop?

      Get real…. Well done the Swiss

  4. 11 Josiah Soap
    November 30, 2009 at 12:25

    Of course it was racist, because it didn’t achieve the outcome wanted. But it was democratic, the people have spoken instead of having their views misrepresented by the Government and media. If Muslims around the world ask if this is a clear intolerance of Islam, maybe they should be asking themselves how tolerant they are of other cultures. What would happen if Europeans wanted to build pubs all over a Muslim country.
    Why on earth should the Swiss have their country changed by a religious minority, if Muslims want to live in Europe they should embrace European culture and achitecture. Once again its only Europeans who have to adapt to other cultures. This sort of thing doesn’t happen in non-western countries.

    • 12 Linda from Italy
      November 30, 2009 at 14:49

      I do wish people would stop confusing racism (or sexism for that matter) with dislike, and even fear, of a religion. You cannot choose your race or gender therefore discrimination on those grounds is totally unjust. Religion, on the other hand, is, or rather should be, a conscious personal choice, and as such is up for grabs. If a community dislikes, or even fears, a religion and considers some of its practices are contrary to its societal norms, it has every right to disallow those practices.

      • 13 Chuck in Ohio
        December 1, 2009 at 01:34

        Religion is a personal choice, but grows out of our culture. When discrininating against Muslims, you are discriminating mainly against non-Europeans or immigrants. The problem with this referendum is that is does discriminate against one religious and ethnical culture. The referendum did not set up architectural guidelines that described what was ‘Swiss.’ It only targeted a symbol of one cuture.

    • November 30, 2009 at 16:17

      The vote against the minaret shows quite clearly why we need not just democracy, but that we need “constitutional democracy”. Democracy with a back bone of human rights.

      The majority is not always right, as has been shown often enough in European history.

      The real sad thing is that we are not able to learn from history.

    • 15 Bob
      December 2, 2009 at 18:32

      Great Answer!! 100% true. They come to our countries because their own are oppressive & dictatorial and then they want to make our countries like theirs. Come to our country and embrace the freedom that we have

  5. 17 Saut
    November 30, 2009 at 12:28

    If the Swiss have a system for determining the people’s choice by democratic means. Then, let it be so. What is the point in accusing the Swiss of being racist? Why don’t we ask the Saudis about building churches in Saudi Arabia?

    In Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world: a proposed new church building can only be constructed if there is majority acceptance by all the residents in that church’s designated neighbourhood.

    Only the small and limited minds call the referendum a fear of Islam. As far as I am concerned, this is is just ‘people’s power play’ which is just as well-practised in Muslim ruled countries.

    • November 30, 2009 at 14:50

      @ Saut ,
      Citing Saudia Arabia as a justification to ban minaret in Switzerland is in itself playing in the hands of intolerance. It’s true that in Saudi Arabia people of other faiths aren’t allwed to build their places of worship, but this isn’t a sound argument not to allow minarets in Switzerland. But in other Muslims where there are native Christians, there are plenty of churches. These countries include Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. Saudi Arabia remains one of the exceptions in the Middle East.

      There are those who argue that a minaret is incongruous with the local architecture. Yet there can a be a minaret design to fit it in the landscape. After all, even in Muslim countries minarets have different shapes.

      • 19 subra
        November 30, 2009 at 17:27

        you are biased. Do you know really what is in store for non-muslims in countries like Pakistan Bangladesh Afganistan? No! It seems you intentionally pretend to forget and not quote these countries where the muslims call others infidel and must be crushed!

      • 20 Abi
        November 30, 2009 at 21:37

        How can people who are not tolerant demand tolerance? It will be right to condemn the vote when Christian churches or religion are tolerated in Muslim countries. This has nothing to do with human or religious rights

      • 21 Rio
        December 2, 2009 at 17:56

        @ Subra.

        You, yourself are also biased. How many country with moslem population have you visited or lived in ? none, i believe.

        Please move out from your country and travel to open up your mind.

        How could you generalise 2 billion of moslem based on only a mere small number of irresponsible people ?

        I am worried that you might be one of those shallow-minded people who pretend to know Islam/moslem but in fact you know nothing.

  6. 22 wintergreen
    November 30, 2009 at 12:35

    I wish I lived in a democratic country where the people were asked about such matters.
    I think the swiss should be celebrating.
    As for the religious intolerance and lack of understanding of Islam, I dont see anywhere it saying the Muslims are not free to worship or even build mosques, the swiss just dont want the ugly towers looming over their skyline.
    Perfectly reasonable and all done in a democratic way.
    Where is the problem?

    • 23 fmog
      November 30, 2009 at 15:40

      Bravo Wintergreen. As long as we are in thrall to the EU there’s no chance of referendi for us. Well done Switzerland for opting out of the EU (by referendum). I don’t consider deciding against adding inappropriate architecture to the skyline as showing religious intolerance but I do consider the blasting out of call to prayer five times a day as noice pollution. However, I do believe many people feel threatened by Islam, possibly because once a muslim always a muslim. For them there is no opting out.

    • November 30, 2009 at 16:23

      The problem is that it’s the minaret (four in total) that bothers the Swiss today, tomorrow it’s the head scarf, the day after everybody with a coloured skin. Because this is how the followers of extreme right parties reason.

      While assisting in an election campaign in The Netherlands, I ran into many of these people who quite plainly say that they want to throw all Muslims out of the country.

      This is the problem. There is always a next step.

      • 25 Andrew
        December 1, 2009 at 21:04

        Anne, did you also encounter people who think its right to murder people in cold blood on the streets of Amsterdam because they produce films slightly critical of islam?

      • 26 Bob
        December 2, 2009 at 18:48

        Can anyone direct me to the muslim country that will allow christians to worship freely or to protest about the type of things that muslims protest about in our countries?

        when will we learn?

  7. 27 Gish
    November 30, 2009 at 12:52

    Europeans are waking up to the fact that the Islamofascist narrative of lies and outright hostility to the West is being propogated in their countries by Muslim clerics and Jihadists intent on destabilising \overturning their indiginous culture and through undermining their democracy to form a Sharia state .
    Slowly but surely the backlash by concerned peaceloving citizens will reverberate as the implications are assessed by them and as events in Holland and now Switzerland have demonstrated.

  8. 28 Tim Graham
    November 30, 2009 at 13:37

    Interesting comments so far – if I may offer my own, it suggestive that more than a few white Swiss men may be feeling inadequete and having issues with inferiority complexes, but that’s my opinion. Take it or leave it.

    • 29 Iain
      November 30, 2009 at 15:20

      You post is pure facetiousness and unlike the swiss democratic vote, your post has no place in a civilised debate, how utterly childish.

    • 30 Josiah Soap
      November 30, 2009 at 18:13

      @Tim
      I am leaving your opinion well alone. This is the typical PC answer – call people names if they don’t win the argument. I guess there was only one “acceptable” vote in your little world.

  9. 31 David Turner
    November 30, 2009 at 13:38

    The Swiss’ reaction is a rational response to the threat of islamification.

    The Swiss have upheld their liberal traditions by voting for the rejection of fascism…in the form of islam.

  10. November 30, 2009 at 13:43

    It’s not a minaret that can spread a brand of Islam. Does this mean that there should be no mention of Islam in Switzerland? Anyone set on spreading Islam in Switzerland can have other means like brochures, internet websites, radio stations and others.

    Even in muslim countries, extremists didn’t in most part spread their views from mosques.
    The Swiss could have taken the example of the USA where there are 1,200 mosques or UK where Muslim communities enjoy their full rights.

    If they fear what 2,000 Muslims can do, what about France where there are 4 million Muslims?

    In short, the Swiss got it wrong. Perhaps they should include in their education books portraying Islam as a religion of fear so no Swiss can dream of converting to Islam or having any relations with Muslims.

    • 33 Peter
      November 30, 2009 at 15:06

      Perhaps the Swiss have already taken a lesson from the UK… that very UK where British soldiers are told in their own country not to wear uniform in certain muslim-populated enclaves so they do not “offend: muslim immigrants or where implementation of barbaric Sharia law is being discussed as an real and iminent threat.
      Perhaps the Swiss want to stand up and defend their Swiss values and identity before it’s too late.

  11. November 30, 2009 at 13:54

    Shame! Swiss have an identity problem. Women are inferior in the Cantons Helvétique.
    Torn between France and Germany, they are neither. Well-known for thrift, but that was dealt a blow with the disclosure of secret bank accounts and tax evasion.
    I cherished my childhood in Geneva and the myth of Guillaume Tell, but that also vanished only to be replaced by “religious intolerance and irrational fear,” as Lubna says.

    • 35 Dee
      November 30, 2009 at 16:16

      What rubbish, there is nothing inferior about women in Switzerland, nor is there religious intolerance or irrational fear. I know I live in Switzerland, and I am a woman. There is no identity problem either, the Swiss have identity, and are proud of it. Try being in the UK where the Britsih had an identity to be proud of but are not allowed to express it for fear of offending others.

    • 36 subra
      November 30, 2009 at 17:36

      You pretend to be ignorant! you tax others of discrimination and forget that women in the muslim world are considered so inferior that they are compelled to cover themselves from head to foot and suffer so many forms of violence. Even mothers and sisters are discredited and treated as inferior. Look at yourself in the mirror!

  12. 37 Ann
    November 30, 2009 at 13:55

    The Swiss shame themselves.

    I hope and pray that the Muslim community will not rise to the bait, but rise above this unsurprising right wing discrimination and bigatory.

  13. 38 patti in cape coral
    November 30, 2009 at 14:15

    I think minarets are beautiful, but might not fit in the Swiss landscape. I guess if the decision is reached democratically, it would have to stand, no matter what it is.

    • November 30, 2009 at 16:28

      We do not take a referendum on the question whether or not women are allowed to wear trousers. Or which colour my curtains are.

      These referenda might be ‘democratic’ too, but they are silly.

  14. November 30, 2009 at 14:20

    I can understand, from an aesthetic point of view certain neighborhoods limiting what types of architecture are allowed in order to have some sense of cohesion, however you can’t tell me that within the whole country there aren’t ANY spots where the minarets would clash. The US commonly places restrictions on types of building and decoration based upon “neighborhood norms”, and there is often an outcry from businesses who say that such limitations “hurt” their business somehow. As to the poster above who brought up the Muslim countries who are absolutely intolerant of anything deemed un-Islamic, well, while I make no excuses for any sort of intolerance, are you saying that we in the West should follow suit? Is it ok for you to burn your wife to death with kerosene because you suspect her of infidelity? Because, my friend, that indeed happens, legally, in many Muslim countries. My parents always taught me that one leads best by example and that retaliating via copy cat attitudes does no one any good.

  15. 41 Tony from Singapura
    November 30, 2009 at 14:26

    I question if the referendum was constitutionally correct in the first place.

    If religious freedom including right of expression is supported by the CH constitution, the question should have been more generic, something like “should places of worship exhibit differentiating architectural features”

    This would mean christian, muslim, and Jewish places of worship should not have features such as Minarets, Bell Towers, Spires etc.

    I cant wait to see how this plays out in their legislature !

  16. November 30, 2009 at 14:34

    .1.Rest of Europe,even rest of the world,excluding Muslim countries, would have done what Swiss have done, though it might look wrong.There is a limit to tolerance and feigned ignorance of the Muslim community of the atrocious acts of brethern.If they really feel strongly about the terrorists, let them issue a fatwa excommunicating terrorists.

    2..Europe does not suffer from any phobia.When people are killed, you react.No fancy terms please.
    3.Defending one’s culture is discriminatory if killing with religious sanction is Holy.
    4.It is not a question of national pride, but an act of defense for survival.
    5.Yes, the reaction is delayed reaction ,nothing more.
    6.It is not perceived unwillingness but a willful act of transnational loyalty of Muslims.
    No group of people have transnational loyalty, perhaps with the exception of Communists.
    In short the Swiss have done what others should have done long back,come what may.
    You may expect screams documenting Muslims’ loyalty to the Nation and how their Religion does not support Jihad of terrorists and that it is a very tolerant religion.
    So called secularists also subscribe to this view .I will be pleasantly surprised if the comment is published..

  17. November 30, 2009 at 14:35

    It is not just the Dutch or the Swiss who are fed up with the Muslims. The whole world is fed up with their unreasonable demands and the trouble they cause wherever they settle.

    I have come across these minarets in the Philippines where they inflict their calls to prayer over a wide area that just wants to live in peace without this ghastly racket driving everyone mad every couple of hours. What’s up with these people haven’t they got watches.

    I am all for people following any religion they choose if they can do so without making a nuisance of themselves at the same time. Muslims do just that on many fronts.Their demand causes a majority nuisance to benefit a minority demand.

    If they want to live as Muslims under Muslim rules, noise and law then why don’t they go and live where it is the norm instead of inflicting themselves on non Muslim countries where they make no effort to integrate.

  18. 44 neil
    November 30, 2009 at 14:37

    The Swiss have set a marker for preservation of their culture, identify and religions – they are to be congratulated for their determination and constitution that allows for such votes. It clear;ly shows how completely central governmnet misunderstand the mood of the people locally and how the centrally driven policy of “intergration” has so utterly failed.

  19. 45 Iain
    November 30, 2009 at 14:51

    I have not noticed any church steeples in Mecca, or Madinah, in fact Christians are not even allowed there.

    • 46 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 15:45

      Yes! The only way to starve this beast we call racism is by committing more of it! It makes perfect sense!

      • 47 Josiah Soap
        November 30, 2009 at 19:06

        Mike, standing up for ones culture and wishing to preserve it is not racism. The people of Switzerland voted the way they did because in Europe we are fed up of this one way street. Other cultures can be as “racist” as they like, whereas in Europe we are told we need to be tolerant and rise above this. The end result is that we are walked over and moved around like pawns on a chess board. We tolerate others, but they don’t tolerate our cultures and if we don’t fight back then “racism” WILL win. Europeans are beggining to realise that you can be too tolerant.

  20. 48 gary
    November 30, 2009 at 14:55

    A respondent wrote: “It is wrong to judge Islam and Muslims by the actions of extremists.” I would ask, “How may we judge them?” All creeds select against a set of activities they categorize as “immoral.” The Swiss specifically, and a fair percentage of folks in Christian nations generally, are plagued by a suspicion that Islam categories non-membership both as immoral and justifiably redressible. The actions of its more extreme believers reinforce this suspicion.

    Ultimately every organization is defined not by its constitution (in this instance the Qur’an); but by its selection rules. Those ideas and peoples tacitly included (not selected against) are as important an indicator of the group’s nature, as are those more overtly welcomed and displayed. If Islam does not own its extremists, why does it not disown them? The Swiss have a neat little country. Good for them.
    g

    • 49 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 15:43

      So how many crimes committed by those of your own race, creed or religion have you condemned? Why aren’t you busy disowning them?

      • 50 gary
        November 30, 2009 at 18:13

        I do so condemn all of them of which I am aware. However, my contribution to religious tolerance or lack thereof is absolutely insignificant to that of any group of two billion people regardless of their particular ethnicity, culture, or mania. In the mean time, there are several very large groups of folks holding apparently conflicting beliefs (judging merely by the casualties on both sides), so very little is to be gained being concerned about individuals. The comment about individual beliefs detracts attention from the fact the non-Islamic Western societies (here symbolized by the Swiss) and the Body of Islam include sufficient numbers of people to make unresolved arguments seriously interesting. Its implication that one sort of intolerance cannot be singularly discussed without simultaneous treatment of every other instance of intolerance in both societies negates discussion. This was precisely my point in commenting in the first instance. Islam and the West have differences and common needs. They are insoluble until all sides voice their perceptions of the areas in which conflict arises. As was an individual’s thoughts, a consideration of shared histories is likewise unproductive. This is how we arrived at the conflict and its discussion in the first place! Here and now with living people, differences exist. What they may be, and how they can be accommodated to allow all to coexist on Earth are the only issues worth considering. And certainly, liking each other is not a prerequisite to tolerance; but understanding one another is.
        g

    • 51 Kenn
      November 30, 2009 at 20:49

      Wow, Mike.

      You are a very argumentative left winger. At almost every topic on this board you vilify anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

      And think about it, Europe DID address their history. With the Nazi war crimes trials and the continuing trials of all crimes against humanity in The Hague. The redressing of crimes and reinstitution of art and culture seized in the differing wars, everything is being returned to the rightful owners.

      A country has the right to determine its own agenda if it doesn’t hurt the world at large. The Swiss can say “No minarets’ if they want. The people there had a chance to take a stand and they did so.

      In their view it was right, and so it IS right for the Swiss to do that. Its just architecture, they didn’t ban the religion, just big towers.

      BTW How is that peer review process going on the raw data from the UEA AGP studies?

  21. 52 Tony from Singapura
    November 30, 2009 at 14:56

    Minarets dont have to broadcast the call for prayers into the surrounding district so the noise polution angle is not a valid argument against the construction of minarets.

    Singapore is an example of such a comromise, the mosques are as architecturally complete as are the churches and synogogs, however you wont ever hear the call to prayers unless you stand in the doorway of the building.

    • 53 Saut
      November 30, 2009 at 19:16

      Tony from Singapura,
      Singapura is no different from the Swiss in a certain aspect, as the majority non-Muslim Singapurans is intolerant of the calls to solat but are ok with minarets. Singapura’s neighbours: Malaysia and Indonesia has no such restrictions.

  22. 54 Miriam Hyde
    November 30, 2009 at 15:00

    I do believe this vote is an example of the worldwide fear of RADICAL Islamists. I also believe that with this vote, they’ve won. It proves that terrorism works.

    While I believe that voters get to make decisions, those decisions are not always right. Germans voted for Hitler; Palestinians, Hamas. Think about the “dictators” who get elected, and re-elected, term after term.

    Rather than a ban, I think that regulations limiting the number and size of minarets would have had a better result. Then it really would be about size, number and appearance in the locale.

    My real fear about this vote is how it got started. The religious or populist right-wing Swedish radicals are just as bad as religious, right-wing Islamists, I am much more fearful of any of these groups’ growing power. Certainly, here in America, the religious, right-wing radicals are trying to change the face of what is supposed to be a democratic country, and are just as discriminatory and hate- and fear-mongering as any other like-minded groups. I can rattle off lots of names, but most of you already know who they are.

    The world should be afraid of any group whose stated mission is to wipe out every other group. Minarets are not the problem. The fanatics are.

    • 55 Charles
      November 30, 2009 at 22:59

      Did you call swiss people, Swedish?

      “right-wing Swedish radicals…”

    • 56 Dee
      December 1, 2009 at 09:38

      You are wrong, the threat of terrorism did not work The Government told us that they feared extremist reprisals if the ban was voted for. The Swiss will not be bullied in this way. We are happy for Muslims to come here and integrate into our society. What we do not want is for our society to have to change to accomodate them. This goes for all immigrants, not just Muslims. What people have to understand that there are many facets of Islam that go against civilised society and that is what we are standing up to. We want equality for all, no special rights awarded to one group or another. 20% of the Swiss population are immigrant, the majority integrate well. They learn our languages, go to school and work here, with no problem whatsoever. There are however a few who wish to bring their own laws in, their own culture which clashes with those of the modern Western world. This referendum was held in Switzerland, but I can guarantee that this is a show piece for the rest of the west and if the rest of Europe, US, Canada etc would vote the same way. And yes maybe the next ban will be for headscarfs, Burka’s, female genital mutilation. No special dispensation for any group. Each country has it’s own laws they should be adhered to.

  23. 57 Frank in the USA
    November 30, 2009 at 15:05

    Kudos to the people of Switzerland. Their decision is symbolic of an awakening from a dangerous slumber in which common sense has fallen by the wayside.

    The West has allowed itself to be confused and befuddled by clever arguments and catchphrases such as “diversity,” “tolerance,” “racism,” etc., designed to create a false sense of guilt, and propagated by intellectual-sounding foes disguised as one of us.

    All the while Islam has been invading the West like an opportunistic vine smothering a tree, spreading fear, violence, Islamic values and seeking to replace Western culture.

    Hopefully this is just the beginning of a wave of reaction to the excessive permissiveness of the last decades that has threatened the survival of traditional Western society, values, and culture.

  24. 58 DOLAPO AINA
    November 30, 2009 at 15:06

    Sure it isn’t good and it shows some kind of intolerance. But I wonder if this action or stance isn’t the same in the Islamic world? Isn’t it a known fact that establishing a non-Islamic institution in an Islamic country is difficult, if not impossible?

    There should be tolerance but to be factual, there isn’t.

    And I wonder if the Swiss arent just been scared and covertly intolerant of what they dont ant to understand?

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  25. 59 Maccus Germanis
    November 30, 2009 at 15:13

    I live near a small community that regulates the size of lettering by which merchents advertise themselves. I thought it silly at first, but must admit the town has a distinct character, and I can still easily enough find the grocery store. The construction of minarets is undeniably intertwined with perceptions of Islam, as Erdogan refered to them as lances, but both those of us concerned with the Islamification of Europe and others thinking us Islamaphobes might not want to read to much into an aesthetic issue. I do not think that the four states which have banned billboards in USA have thus become intolerant of capitalism.

    • 60 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 15:51

      So you don’t see a different between giant signs that distract drivers on the road and targeting the towers – of which only four exist in the country – built by a very specific minority religion that is being targeted as not being Swiss enough?

      • 61 Maccus Germanis
        November 30, 2009 at 16:31

        Are both not incidental symbols? Nevertheless, there are differences. Billboards are much more clear about the ideas that they represent. In fact, if you’d read carefully, I am one of those that thinks Islam an oppresive political ideology at its very core. I do not presume that the Swiss now agree with me.

  26. 62 Khaled
    November 30, 2009 at 15:18

    It is not only a decision against a religion, it is against a culture, a style of architecture that has influence. Deal with it and integrate. after all, Europe invented globalization and Democracy for all. Or do you think it just goes one way (grandiosity complex is it). Helping Iraq to get rid of its dictator and take its oil resources (thanx by the way).
    I’m afraid this will be an extraordinary excuse for the Middle East to initiate referendum against Churches ban (can’t blame them it is the essence of democracy!!).. or even demolishing churches because it won’t fit the style/landscape of one place (Did the crusaders start for similar reason).
    And why minerates only?? there are other religious buildings that also don’t fit the same landscape.
    I just wonder how did discrimination against Jews started in Europe/Germany. Did it start with referendum. possibly because they had their own closed community and life style and couldn’t adapt to the “European style”.
    Is Europe led by wave of hatred and ignorance to discriminate one of its biggest minorities?
    Just a shout for you to wake up. At least the people in the middle east have the excuse of illiteracy and poverty (more than 50% of them). what is yours?! Shame on you!!

    • 63 Saut
      November 30, 2009 at 19:40

      Khaled, I am still waiting for you to educate the illiterates in the Middle East Muslims on tolerance, democracy, etc and ensure that they don’t do the shameful things.

      • 64 Khaled
        November 30, 2009 at 20:04

        I’ve got it covered bro. It will take abit of time though..
        Ah by the way, Just try – from your end – to stop other countries putting their noses into Middle East business creating more terrorists, poverty and illiteracy. It is just soo much to cover. (Now I have to educate all the Iraqi people about tolerance, “democracy” and luxury of being free). Taking oil to sell democracy…! WMD alright.

        But Hey you are right. we have responsibilities too! Shame on us :)

    • 65 AC
      December 2, 2009 at 11:08

      khaled, I am from India. We also have a lot of poverty and illiteracy (42% of the population lives on less than $1 per day).

      The holiest city of the Hindus is Benaras (comparable to the Mecca for Muslims). Do you know how may mosques Benaras has? At least four , many of them built in the middle ages by marauding Muslim armies who demolished the temples and built mosques at the site. India has the second largest number of Muslims in any country in the world. And it has had female prime ministers and Muslim presidents – even though 80% of the population is Hindu.

      Now, tell me, given the comparable conditions in India and Middle East, why does Mecca not have a single temple or cathedral? Why not a single female leader? How many prime ministers and presidents does the Middle East have who are Jew, Hindu, Christian, or Buddhist?

      How many Hindus in West have you heard of demanding that their personal laws be included in the constitution of the country they migrate to? How many of them have dreams of a pan Hindu nation that spans the world? How many of them have bombed buildings because they are “poor and illiterate”?

      Poverty and illiteracy are not very good excuses, are they?

  27. 66 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 15:22

    Abdelilah Boukili in Morocco,

    for starters there are 400’000 muslims in switzerland. secondly, i am swiss and i am glad that minerets were banned. they simply do not belong to switzerland. nobody talks about banning mosques and there are already plenty of mosques in switzerland.

    to me it is simply an estetic choice. i like my country the way it is. in addition granting minarets will then be followed by calls to have the call for prayer be broadcast from the minarets. too often with islam it has been a case of giving a finger only for the whole arm to be taken.

    • November 30, 2009 at 16:30

      @jens

      Thanks for correcting me about the number of Muslims in Switzerland. 2000 Muslims refers to those who aren’t Swiss citizens. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Switzerland

      Concerning your view that “granting minarets will then be followed by calls to have the call for prayer be broadcast from the minarets.” I think there can be some flexibility. A call lasts only two minutes. In UK, a call can performed just twice a day , not five, using a reasonable volume not to disturb non-Muslims.

      Besides, if churches can ring their bells? How different is it from a call from a minaret, when considering sounds produced from a religious place? They all have an acoustic effect. It’s the attitude that determines the sound from a religious institution as merely sound pollution or with a purpose.

      • 68 Dee
        December 1, 2009 at 09:43

        Many churches no longer ring their bells. The bell ringing was introduced before the time of clocks and watches to tell the people the time and the time for going to church. They are now deemed unnecessary asmost people have clocks and watches and can tell when to go to church. I bet Muslims can do the same and cannot see whay a call to prayer is necessary. I am rather shocked to hear that in the UK the call to prayer is allowed, when so many churches are not allowed to ring their bells.

  28. November 30, 2009 at 15:24

    Salaam again,
    Yesterday’s morning as I was hearing the ringing of the bells of St. Joseph’s church which lies only a few meters away from my house, I said to myself “Say it loud, I’m not a Swiss and proud… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  29. 70 Peter
    November 30, 2009 at 15:33

    For the past decades Europeans have been on defensive, facing open islamization of their countries while being told that tolerance is a one-way street and that they have to accomodate whatever demand the muslim immigrants come up yet a mere suggestion that also immigrants should behave according to “When in Rome do as the Romans do” would result in being immediately labeled as “racist” and “xenophobe”.
    I guess the Swiss just got fed up with it and it’s time for the rest of Europe to turn the tide as well.

  30. November 30, 2009 at 15:33

    Salaam Iain,
    There aren’t any mosques allowed in the Vatican are there ?! And in Jerusalem anyone who’s below 50 years old isn’t allowed by the Israeli occupation authorities to pray inside Al Aqsa mosque. Mecca is the 1st most sacred city in the whole world to Muslims… Now, does Switzerland have some sort of a religious sacredness just like the Vatican or Mecca ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

    • 72 Andrew
      December 1, 2009 at 21:38

      Lubna, just for your information, there probably aren’t any Muslims in the Vatican so they don’t need a mosque there, but there is no restriction on them visiting the Vatican; also, there are many mosques in the city of Rome itself. However, there are no churches in Mecca possibly because non-Moslems are not allowed to go there, but in Saudi Arabia as a whole there are thousands of migrant non-Muslims working away but with no right to build themselves places of worship. Switzerland isn’t interfering in people’s religion, just in their inappropriate architecture. By the way, you live near a church in Baghdad because Iraq was a Christian country for centuries before Muslims started building their minarets there.

  31. November 30, 2009 at 15:34

    “Have the Swiss done what the rest of Europe would like to be able to do?”

    Actually, in France, for example, some local councils don’t give Muslims permission to build mosques for different reasons.

    There is the case of not granting permission to build a mosque in lincolnshire

    Such cases remain isolated as they are considered as local affairs, but in the case of Switzerland, banning minarets nationally has more resonance as it seems it is a country along with its government that are against having any religious Muslim architecture in sight. If this is replicated at all levels in every country, then it’s good bye to multiculturalism and welcome to all forms of crusades for good or bad reasons.

  32. 74 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 15:36

    Though I don’t support this ban, it’s not like Mosques are forbidden by this. There will still be mosques and Islam still can be practiced in Switzerland, unlike other religions in saudi arabia. To compare this minaret ban to what the saudis does is dishonest, because the Saudis have a total ban on all other religions. This is just a ban on Minarets.

    I’m curious why there aren’t any movements for pursuing religious tolerance in more places in the middle east? Sure, countries like Indonedia and Pakistan have churches, but on occastion, they get attacked, especially in pakistan. Synogogues get blow up in Turkey and other places in the middle east outside of Israel.

    There’s not much of a movement calling for tolerance in the middle east, it doesn’t mean it’s right for the west to become less tolerant, but a very large double standard is exposed by this.

  33. 75 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 15:40

    Miriam Hyde,

    first it is the swiss and not the swedish who voted against the minarets. secondly the swiss right party is not to be confused with the religiouse right here in the states. compared to the right religiouse wing the SVP is centrist. i am not a supporter of this party.

  34. 76 Tamatoa, Zurich
    November 30, 2009 at 15:40

    Let’s not forget that this was a referendum about buildings, and only indirectly a referendum against religious freedom. We don’t know how many mosques and places of worship will be built just without a minarett. To say that the Swiss are truly intolerant is not justified.
    I also think that the timing of the referendum was briliant. People are afraid of islamisation which is legitimate because it wasn’t really implemented anywhere so far. The result would have been different at another time. Also not many Swiss want to see a minarett in the old town of Bern which is a world cultural heriage site now. I was against it but was bothered by that image too.
    I think we should apply wisdom in these things. This is not the time to start demanding religious symbols to be introduced in to the culture. I find it justified but Muslims shoot themselves in the foot by bringing it up in these uncertain times.

  35. 77 Tony from Singapura
    November 30, 2009 at 15:41

    A requirement of Obligatory Referendums in Switzerland is that they do not contradict any international law or treaties for which Switzerland is a signatory.

    The Swiss Government maintains a database of applicable treaties:

    http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/topics/intla/intrea/dbintr.html

    http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/as/index.html

    Unfortunately there is no English version of the database, however if you speak French/German/Italian it would be possible to search it to see if the UN Declaration on Religious Intolerance is applicable, here it is:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/un_dec.htm

    If it is applicable, then this referendum which is unarguably discriminatory would be itself illegal and the results must be declared invalid.

    This will be a nice dilemma for the Federal Government to sort out.

  36. 78 T
    November 30, 2009 at 15:42

    Before you instantly judge the Swiss, look at intolerance in other countries (the U.K. and States for example).

    • 79 Dee
      December 1, 2009 at 10:13

      Precisely. I lived in the Uk for a long time and found it to be much more racist than Switzerland. This is because the people have not been consulted and allowed Muslims to follow thier own code of conduct and special rights given to them without consideration to the indigenous population. Many of the Muslim demands are against civilised western culture so is it any wonder that the indigenous population are upset. They see Muslims coming into their neighbouhoods and not integrating, forcing changes that no other immigrant population has demanded. Introducing aspects of Sharia Law, because the laws of the land do not suit them. Is this right?

  37. 80 Jennifer
    November 30, 2009 at 15:42

    If the people of Switzerland voted to ban minarets; it was their choice. The people have said that’s what they want so that should be that.

    It’s interesting at what is now being debated about this; especially intolerance, Frank in the USA said it perfectly well.

    Go Switzerland!

  38. November 30, 2009 at 15:46

    Col Gadaffi sums up my fears of European Islamisation, He said: ‘There are signs that Allah will grant victory to Islam in Europe without swords, without guns, withour conquest. The 50 million Muslims in Europe will turn it into a Muslim Continent in a few decades.’ You have been warned!

  39. 83 Mike in Seattle
    November 30, 2009 at 15:52

    Make that one hundred years ago, sorry about that.

  40. 84 fmog
    November 30, 2009 at 15:53

    Well done Switzerland for holding the referendum. It shows true democracy which I wish the rest of the world would follow. So saying, the result of a referendum might show the will of the majority of the populace but it might not necessarily be the right result in the long run. Only time will tell.

  41. 85 Andrew in Australia
    November 30, 2009 at 15:56

    Few examples of people berating the Swiss for bigotry, racism etc. To those I say… I am sure your country is an exemplar or racial harmony and cares for everyone, has no internal divisions amongst clan groups or whoever, and openly encourages outsiders to criticse your way of life and yields to their demands whatever they may be.

    Surely you can decide how you want your home to be? And you should not be criticised for exercising that right of expression?

    How many times have we seen cultures implode and tensions arise when local inhabitants are not allowed to have an opinion and constantly forced to accept waves of outside influences change what they have and what they wish to preserve?

  42. 86 patti in cape coral
    November 30, 2009 at 16:02

    What does the Muslim call to prayer sound like? I’m not a Christian, but I actually find the bells of the local church ringing in the morning kind of pleasant.

  43. 87 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 16:08

    @ Lubna

    The difference between the Vatican and Mecca, is that non catholics are not forbidden from entering the Vatican. I’m not a catholic, let alone christian, yet I’ve been to the Vatican before. I was allowed to enter, explore, do whatever I want. While you’re right they wouldn’t allow a mosque, or a synagogue, or a bhuddist temple, non catholics are allowed in. A non muslim is not even allowed to set foot inside of Mecca.

  44. 88 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 16:14

    I think this, along with the recent success of the BNP, are backlashes against the left and their overzealous immigration and non integration policies of diversity. I think it’s either move more to the center, or the far right will gain more power. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with europe and european culture, so don’t force society to change as a feel good measure. Outside of the west, it’s unheard of . Saudi arabia and Japan have no desire to become “diverse”..

    • 89 Josiah Soap
      November 30, 2009 at 18:24

      Steve
      Good point, non-western countries do not even think about becoming diverse, multicultural or “tolerant.” This train of thought is purley western, some people feel guilty that the west became the most successful culture, and now feel we have to water it down or give other cultures more respect. Unless this becomes a give and take worldwide there is absolutely no reason not to stand up and preserve western cultures, to do so is not deemed racist or hateful in other societies and neither should it be here.

  45. 90 Andrew in Australia
    November 30, 2009 at 16:21

    Now, will the reaction of Islamic groups wherever they may be to this reinforce what many believe about Islam? Will churches be destroyed in retribution for example? That remains to be seen.

  46. 91 Carmen Aroztegui
    November 30, 2009 at 16:27

    It is scary how people can be manipulated by fear and terror. It reminds me of Fascism. Uuuuuuu Muslims are invading Europe. Uuuuuu Jewish are controlling our motherland. Haven´t we learn anything from our past? I am so sorry.

  47. 92 Tom K in Mpls
    November 30, 2009 at 16:27

    This was a bad situation from the start, with no good answers. The Swiss people, IMO, took the worst possible action. As for the call to prayer, it could have been addressed, as it would be in the US, under noise and nuisance laws. As for minarets, US municipalities have an approval process for all new construction. This is mostly for the sake of safety, but commonly applies to appearance. Designs that fail need to be redone to fit documented guidelines. This would stop the building of new projects, but what is already there would stay.

    What they did here, is to show that nobodies rights are secure and anyone can loose them to a popular whim.

  48. 93 JanB
    November 30, 2009 at 16:29

    well, at least the Swiss don’t have to worry about getting prayer calls at 5AM. I do think a ban on minarets wasn’t necessary though. There are noise regulations in Switzerland and if these were followed minarets shouldn’t be a problem.

  49. November 30, 2009 at 16:31

    I think this is a victory for democracy.If Muslims,world wide,would study the corner stones of democracy they would find that sovereignty resides in the people.The people have spoken,let it rest there.

  50. 95 rob z.
    November 30, 2009 at 16:32

    Muslims should not be singled out,if the minarets violate a building code;then it’s understandable to not build more of them.
    But to tell them they cannot have thier house of worship include a minaret is like telling a christian church no crosses on your building.
    Stop letting fear lead you by the nose.
    Western christians are,as a groupe,getting pretty pathetic.
    Rob in Florida.

  51. 96 George in Helsinki
    November 30, 2009 at 16:35

    Is the ban on minarets a ban on a type of architecture? A ban on a symbol? Or is it a ban on a type of aesthetic? If the latter, then there should be a referendum on a moratorium on the ugly soul-less office blocks that constitute much of modern architecture in Switzerland as well. And how about a referendum on a moratorium on the deadening outdoor advertizing everywhere in Switzerland, (if we are now attacking symbols)? How about a referendum on stopping the mindless junk we now have on TV, (if the Swiss feel culturally assaulted)? What is really behind this referendum?

    • 97 Ann
      November 30, 2009 at 17:26

      I’m glad you have pointed out the fact that there is indeed a lot of very ugly ‘functional’ buildings in various parts of Switzerland. I recently drove through the Genava and Lausanne regions and I was surprised and disappointed at much of the modern architecture of these areas. It looks so incogruous with the visual beauty of the countryside and traditional buildings… Each to their own I guess, but it was ‘offensive’ to my eye.

  52. 98 patti in cape coral
    November 30, 2009 at 16:35

    OK, I just listened to the Muslim call to prayer, and I liked it, but I have a feeling I’m in the minority. From what I read, though, this call is repeated five times a day, and depending on how loud it is, and where it is located, I can see how this would be troublesome and annoying to some people.

    • 99 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 17:53

      Sure, it can be annoying, but the minarets in Switzerland didn’t broadcast a call to prayer. They just stood there.

      • 100 patti in cape coral
        November 30, 2009 at 18:59

        @ Mike – Well then, if that is the case,I don’t see the problem. Maybe they should be more worried that because there aren’t very many minarets, muslim gatherings will be much larger than if there were more of them. Oh no, heaven forbid! Or am I confusing this with mosques? If the minarets are not broadcasting calls to prayer and there are building codes to preserve the “look” of neighborhoods, what was the real reason for this ban?

      • 101 Dee
        December 1, 2009 at 10:21

        Seeing the call to prayer is not allowed in Switzerland, there is no reason for the minarets. Many new chruches no longer have spires, steeples and bell towers because bells are no longer rung, therefore why build something that serves no purpose other than as a religious/political symbol

  53. 102 Elias
    November 30, 2009 at 16:48

    The banning of muslim minerets by the Swiss is not intolerence instead its the over indulgence of muslims in a host country without regard to the native population that are not muslims.No muslim country would allow and give permission to build several churches or other places of worsip which would be an affront to the muslim faith. As the saying goes “What is source for the goose is source for the gander”.

    • 103 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 17:50

      There are plenty of muslim plurality/majority nations that allow churches – Turkey and Indonesia come to mind.

      • 104 Maccus Germanis
        November 30, 2009 at 19:22

        It comes to my mind that Attaturk banned turbans as part of his secularisation.

      • 105 wintergreen
        December 1, 2009 at 18:03

        Did you really mean to pick Indonesia as an example?
        Just a small quote “There are multiple militant Islamic groups like Laskar Jihad which openly call for violence against christians.
        These millitant groups burn churches and homes of christians, force the conversion of christian villages and maim and kill christians”.
        Taken from here http://www.persecution.org/suffering//countryinfodetail.php?countrycode=6
        Peaceful christian loving turkey isnt much better have a quick look on google for the horror stories and news reports of christians being martyred.

        I digress, the thread is not about how christianity is recieved around the world, it is about the Swiss people – notice it was the PEOPLE of Switzerland who decided they didnt want minarets.
        They havent banned any religion or burned anybody for praying to the wrong god, just made a decision about architecture.

    • 106 Ann
      November 30, 2009 at 17:57

      “As the saying goes “What is source for the goose is source for the gander”.”

      I’m very unconvinced that ‘tit for tat’ is a good way to argue moral authourity.

  54. 107 Bert
    November 30, 2009 at 16:55

    I think that this is not the right time to be pushing symbols of Islam on the West. First, reform the image by getting the extremists under control. Broadcast intolerance for throwing acid into schoolgirls’ faces, for example. Reject the daily carnage among Moslems. Reject the subjugation of women.

    Islam is not just a religion. It’s a way of life. Not surprisingly, not many free of it would willingly submit to it encroaching upon their lives.

    • 108 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 17:52

      So which crimes committed by people that look like you have you protested and condemned?

      Why is every follower of the muslim faith responsible for every action performed by some other member? There are around one billion followers, do you expect everyone to do nothing but apologize?

      • 109 Kenn
        November 30, 2009 at 21:13

        They could send Obama out on a “We Muslims are sorry” tour following his “We in the US are sorry” tours.

        He seems to be a good bower and kneescraper so far.

  55. 110 Andrew in Australia
    November 30, 2009 at 16:56

    @Lubna

    The Vatican is only half a square kilometre and nothing like a country in its own right as we understand them to be, while Mecca is a city in a larger country. But Saudis aside there is far less intolerance of non-Christian religions in western nations especially in Europe than exists in the Arab or Islamic world towards Christians. Not a good comparison.

  56. November 30, 2009 at 17:02

    Switzerland sets an example for Europe to follow by banning minarets. Now the Swiss must ban mosques or suffer for their foolish tolerance! Islam is hateful and foreign and treacherous. Why deny it?

  57. 112 Anthony
    November 30, 2009 at 17:05

    Whats wrong with this ban? If the people feel that Islam is trying to take over the world (which I agree with), this is a great way to fight back.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. 113 Anthony
    November 30, 2009 at 17:07

    @ rob z.

    Stop letting fear lead us by the nose? You mean like the Jews, the Native South Americans, or the Armenians?

    If you don’t learn from the past, it’s going to repeat itself.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 114 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 17:47

      So you see the Swiss as a possible target of mass genocide? And that by banning these simple towers they’re preventing it from happening?

  59. 115 Anthony
    November 30, 2009 at 17:18

    @ T

    What??? The U.S. is intolerant??? Try to going to the Middle East, then you can talk about intolerant. You can’t make a racial joke here… look at the stars here who have (i.e. Michael Richards) and see how much trouble they get into (also, Dog the Bounty Hunter). I find that funny if you truly believe that we are one of the more intolerant countries.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  60. 116 Gary Paudler
    November 30, 2009 at 17:22

    Switzerland’s proposed ban on minarets is just silly in concept and execution. The BBC story states that here are only 4 minarets in Switzerland and applications to build new minarets are usually denied. It’s a ban on an architectural element that will have no affect on numbers of Muslims, or their religious or political activities. The stated justifications seem muddled and include a mishmash of religious, political, architectural, security, historical and cultural rationales. It is a ban to address a problem that does not exist and the ban, itself, threatens to foment the very problem that its proponents pretend to fear. If I was going to build bombs or plot terrorist actions, I would do it in a building without a towering advertisement for my maligned religion. This ban is really just a pointed, futile, ill-considered and unnecessary pander to an insecure constituency.

  61. 117 Roberto
    November 30, 2009 at 17:25

    RE “” It is wrong to judge Islam and Muslims by the actions of extremists. “”
    ———————————————————————————–

    ———- If Islam doesn’t wished to be judged, then it’s up to them to clean up the religion and maybe the minarets won’t be an issue.

    Communities have a right to enforce their own standards.

  62. 118 Guido
    November 30, 2009 at 17:32

    Minarets and headscarf are just symbols for a bigger problem. Many people do not like other people to be different; to look different or to have other opinions.

    This is often accompanied by the wish for a strong leader instead of endless discussions in parliament. I think this is a dangerous development all over Europe, but I have no idea how to stop it.

  63. 119 D from Indiana
    November 30, 2009 at 17:32

    -Switzerland’s Constitution-

    Title 2 Basic, Civil, and Social Rights

    Chapter 1 Basic Rights

    Article 8 Equality
    (1) All humans are equal before the law.
    (2) Nobody may be discriminated against, namely for his or her origin, race, sex, age, language, social position, way of life, religious, philosophical, or political convictions, or because of a corporal or mental disability.

    • 120 Ethan
      November 30, 2009 at 21:31

      So, then I guess some major ideals within the Islamic faith are actually against Switzerlands Constitution? Death for apostasy, draconian rape laws, non-
      Muslims are not to have authority over Muslims, non-Muslims are not able to testify in court against Muslims … seems the Swis should go further than banning just certain types of architecture then?

    • 121 Dee
      December 1, 2009 at 10:30

      This goes two way, everyone is equal in the law, therefore no special dispensation should be allowed to any group, person etc etc. By introducing aspects of Islam and Sharia law discriminates against non Muslims. Sharia law is unconstitutional under Swiss Law. Banning Minarets is a way of saying, you will apply the letter of the law and be equal to us. Remember that Islam is not just a religion, it is a way of life, and it is a political tool. It has laws which set it apart form others.

  64. November 30, 2009 at 17:32

    Well my take on this is as much as we complain about what we feel towards other peoples religious inclinations, it near impossible to build or establish any church i9n the muslim world so i do not see why a ban on minarets is a big issue in Europe. Personally i wouldn’t like to be woken up in the wee hours of the morning to a routine i have no connection to maybe only if i had an examination on that day.

    In turkey i understand they use small radios that serve like alarm clocks to wake people, why not use such radios in all other countries..

  65. 123 kamalanii
    November 30, 2009 at 17:34

    Why, this is even a issue? if you move to a country that is not yours!!!! why not integrated you self to the country and their culture?? your culture and everything you believe should be keep in your home!!! if anybody ask question’s then you tell then about your culture or what ever you wish!!! why force the rest of the people to endure and make a habbit to disrespect the country that you choose to move!!! where is the RESPECT FOR THE COUNTRY YOU MOVE?

  66. 126 Mudplugger in UK
    November 30, 2009 at 17:37

    The Swiss vote was democratic, it simply produced a different result from the one deemed politically acceptable. That’s democracy – get over it.

    Sadly, in Britain, our government will never allow us any form of true democratic expression for fear of exactly the Swiss experience. All our major parties have recently reneged on promises of referenda on the EU Lisbon Treaty – but they will reap what they sow.

    Just look at the massive rise in votes for the generally disreputable British National Party. If politicians continue ignoring their electorate, two things will happen – there will be growing support for parties like the BNP from the more moderate citizens, while the less moderate will take to the streets and demand to be heard with violence.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    • 127 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 18:07

      Democracies should never be used to excuse or enact laws against human rights. That includes the practice of religion.

      • 128 Dee
        December 1, 2009 at 10:32

        And what if that religion practices things that are also against human rights. Is it not the right of a democracy to ensure that does not happen.

  67. 129 Jay Kris, Winston Salem, North carolina
    November 30, 2009 at 17:41

    The Swiss are setting a bad and a really dangerous precedent here. A referendum against a minority group is a joke and a convenient way for Governments to have the cake and eat it too. This will have serious repercussions and set a backlash in other secular Muslim countries. Beware what you ask for!!
    I personally prefer the minarets to your windmills. You are threatened by some beautifully crafted concrete towers, it’s laughable. Go ahead and build taller spires on your churches that will cast a shadow on these minarets. There are more important things that the Swiss may want to focus upon like the effect of climate change on the Alps than nit-picking on rather insignificant issues.

    Jay Kris
    Winston Salem, NC

    • 130 Bert
      November 30, 2009 at 18:14

      Sorry to disagree, but the referendum was against symbols, not against a minority group per se.

      Surely, you would object to symbols of intolerance or even of hatred being allowed in your community, would you not? Even when those symbols were home-grown, let alone when they are imported.

      The massacre at Fort Hood is the “dangerous” example of letting political correctness blind us.

  68. 131 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 17:48

    i think many forget that switzerland is a small country, which has been overwehlmed due to liberal immigration laws by a large number of forgein people. this is in many was also a referendum on immigration and a signal the 26% of the population are immigrants and that the swiss are begining to fear for their identity and their rights.

    this is not sacisme this is a defense of swiss traditions. i find it a little disturbing that some defend saudia arabias right to ban churches and other religions on the basis that it is ok for muslims to do so, but deny the swiss the right to ban ugly towers. and lubna, I am proud to be swiss.

    • 132 Gary Paudler
      November 30, 2009 at 18:09

      It doesn’t make sense to characterize Saudi’s restrictions of religious freedom as intolerant and discriminatory and then try to emulate them, but I don’t think that’s what Switzerland is doing. I think that the Swiss have a higher than average regard for homogeneity and appealing to that emotional preference is a cheap and sure way for politicians to cement their positions. The measure to ban minarets has no practical effect other than political pandering.

    • 133 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 18:09

      What is so scary about these new immigrants to you? How are they taking away your identity?

      This concept is really confusing to me, because I remain who I am regardless of who moves in next door.

  69. 134 archibald
    November 30, 2009 at 17:52

    Switzerland is certainly within its rights, as a country, to maintain a distinct architectural environment, representative of its history and culture. It would be the same if skyscrapers were proposed, hopefully, and it certainly would not be called “commercial” discrimination. Why is it that a belief in god and declaration of such, automatically makes denial of its public practice or representation of said religion, “discrimination”?
    Religion, religious symbols and those who promote them have been the root of more murder, mayhem and unnecessary social unrest than any other force in history. People killing each other over the interpretation of events, existence of god and the physical representations ad nauseam all to cement fearful belief in fairy tales and the consequence of non-belief fomenting discrimination through the guise of love. It should ALL be banned.

  70. 135 BRINDA
    November 30, 2009 at 18:19

    Is it not rude !!! to do that,

    how is building a religious place effecting the Swiss? How much of violence have the Islamic caused in Switzerland ?

    Why through a stone sleeping crocodile ?

    why attract wrong attention ?

  71. 136 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 18:23

    @ D

    This vote amends their constitution. part of the constituion cannot be unconstitutional. It amends other aspects, so you would read that portion with an “except for minarets” now.

    It’s kind of like how the 13th amendment in the US constitution voided the parts of the constitution that were about slavery, or the appointment of senators before they were directly elected last century as a result of the 17th amendment.

  72. 137 Alan in Arizona
    November 30, 2009 at 18:30

    I think if Islam and those that teach it stayed out of Politics and Government, people around the world would probably have a much different view of many situations involving Islam.

    You must have a separation of church and state to have a safe, integrated and productive society. Any religion condoning violence should be banned as a demonic cult. There are a lot of them out there with violence in their past.

    But any violence involving religion will always have a negative outcome. Just look at the Protestant and Catholic young men in Belfast that was just reported. Fighting over a new bar. What will be next? Separate toilets for each religion. Toilet segregation enforced by violence?

    • 138 Khaled
      November 30, 2009 at 19:01

      “Any religion condoning violence should be banned as a demonic cult.”

      That’s pretty much all religions ever existed!! :-D

      I agree with separation though not because religion is violent. it is only because people use religion to gain power and authority. violence usually is done by the name of all religion.

      I must say there are a big confusion of what exactly western society trying to fight. Islam..?!! Muslims..!? Anyone living in the middle east/Arabs…?!Governments/Leaders..!? Politicians?!!

      I can almost be certain that I will find a lot of guys answering (all of the above).

      Swiss referendum did!

      • 139 Alan in Arizona
        November 30, 2009 at 21:26

        Hi Khaled,

        That’s my point exactly! Just about every religion has been feared by someone. Maybe the Saudi’s don’t want other religions building church’s because of the Crusade’s of the past. Christians can’t be trusted in Islamic eyes. Maybe any religion current condoning violence should be sanctioned in someway. It a hard call. But considering that sects within a religion, fight within their own amongst themselves like Sunni and Shiites and Catholics and Protestants. Both groups either Christian or Islamic. What can be said, but they are all embarrassing.

        I would have had a hard time voting one way or the other. The effects the religion is currently having around the world would push me to vote one way, but the beauty of the architecture might push me to vote the other way.

        I know in the town of Sedona Arizona, you can only paint buildings certain colors to match the local desert and red rock. That caused some problems when it was implemented years ago.

        Maybe the mosques can be restyled to have a minarets fit into an architectural style conducive to the local styles.

    • 140 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 19:03

      The separation of church and state requires that the separation go both ways.

  73. 141 Philippa
    November 30, 2009 at 18:39

    The Dutch nrc.next reports that there are 4 minarets in all of Switzerland. For 350,000 Muslims. Is this possible? I live in a small Dutch town with a population of 45,000-50,000, and two minarets, one at a Moroccan mosque and one at a Turkish mosque. The original village of c. 15,000 inhabitants was Dutch protestant, on the strict side. Then it was designated as a “growth centre” for a wealthy area outside of Amsterdam and underwent rapid growth within a couple of decades, starting in the 1970s. Some of the newcomers asked for mosques and an understanding municipality and board of aldermen granted permission for them. This is the best integrated place I have ever lived in. I have never heard anyone comment on the minarets.

  74. 142 ARTHUR NJUGUNA
    November 30, 2009 at 18:41

    The swiss have shown their democratic right. They have a right to what they want their country to look like. They have a say on what you should export there and in what quantities just like in all other countries. They have a right to state what they want their flag to look like. The world is not yet an open ended tunnel yet.

    It’s not just Muslims alone that should face this. Its all societies that run in brotherhood fashion and none receptive to the right of others. These kind of societies turn a blind eye when some of their members in the periphery misbehave and are often condone their activities. I think this is why there is even a law to deal with money laundering. It is not true that people hate money but rather that it must reflect some accepted value.

    I myself condemn churches that promote sodomy even though this is considered irrational. In otherwords people should be allowed to state what is agreeable to them until some issues have been thrushed out. Who says that all democratic voting should aye aye?

  75. 143 Shannon in Ohio
    November 30, 2009 at 18:52

    The Swiss who voted to ban the minarets keep pounding their chests and making grand speeches about democracy, but they seem to conveniently forget that those who crafted this form of government also worried about the “tyranny of the majority”, which is clearly in evidence here. Obviously, a great number of Swiss people may have publicly denounced the measure–and then quietly voted for it–a kind of “Bradley effect” in the cantons.

    Equally telling is the apparent refusal on both sides to try and compromise. Those who claim a mosque would be cosmetically disruptive seem less than willing to consider a new design for such a space. How do Muslims in Switzerland feel about this? Are they willing to build a modified design?

    • 144 Mike in Seattle
      November 30, 2009 at 19:13

      If it was all about architecture, then it would have been written into the law in question. It wasn’t, so why should any of us believe that there was any desire to compromise in the first place?

    • November 30, 2009 at 19:50

      This is the basis of our Bill of Rights. Under a constitutional system with guaranteed equality, freedom of religion is a RIGHT which cannot be trumped by majority vote.

    • 146 Kenn
      November 30, 2009 at 21:24

      Actually only in a Democratic Republic does the majority have to bow to the minority views.

      The very roots of democracy was “Majority rules.” That was the reason for it, to allow the majority of th populace to define the way they live.

      That was the Athenian Ideal and the way they tried to run their ‘pure’ democracy.

      Recently (past 200 years) with the establishment of America as the first Democratic Republic were the worries of the minorities even bothered with. And even then the founders of the US never placed protection from the majority into the constitution, but protection from the government.

      Unfortunately we might as well burn that document because the federal government in the US is quickly expanding into the kind of social behemoth that half of us never wanted.

  76. 147 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 18:54

    An other bothersom fact was that some people urged to vote against the referendum on the basis of fear of reprisal. have we gotten so far that we do not vote for our convictions because it may offend muslims, who then in response will riot or commit terrorist acts? is this not a form of trying to control and censor other countries?

  77. 149 Abdul Baseer from India
    November 30, 2009 at 19:11

    Minaret is not part of Islam religion but yes part of Islamic tradition. I being a muslim would not feel offended if I dont see a minaret on a mosque. I am happy there are mosques in Switzerland.
    I felt bad about how the minarets were projected in the posters. The way Islam was projected in this referendum. This has changed my opinion about Switzerland.

  78. 150 Philippa
    November 30, 2009 at 19:11

    PS. The Swiss decision will most likely be condemned by the European Court of Human Rights, although that probably won’t make it easier for Muslims to get mosques with minarets in Switzerland.

  79. November 30, 2009 at 19:13

    Sounds like “tyranny of the majority” to me.

    • 152 Saut
      November 30, 2009 at 20:08

      What have you got against local zoning laws? In Singapore, where I live, pig farming is banned despite the majority race being Chinese and non-Muslim who continue to enjoy bacon from imports.

  80. 153 Mike in Seattle
    November 30, 2009 at 19:14

    If the United States had banned the minaret, would it have prevented 9/11 from happening? I don’t really think so.

  81. 154 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 19:17

    If your guest can say that these actions, which she views as intolerance of islam, are based in ignorance, would she say that the saudi complete intolerance of all religions but islam, is also based in ingorance, or again, is “understanding” a one way street of the west haveing to understand islam, but NEVER the other way around?

  82. 155 Mike in Seattle
    November 30, 2009 at 19:19

    I have a question for any Swiss citizen who voted in favor of this law:

    Which portions of the Swiss identity were being damaged by the existence of these towers? What parts of the Swiss culture are now protected that were at risk last week?

  83. 156 Ivan
    November 30, 2009 at 19:20

    The Swiss people have spoken for the rest of Europe. If the peoples of the EU were given the same right to vote on this issue, they would probably say much the same thing.

    Non-Moslems are sick of Moslem hypocrisy and double standards. If the Moslems demand religious freedom in Europe, they must grant the same religious freedom to Christians – and Buddhists, Hindus etc. in their own Moslem countries.

    But anyone who has travelled in Moslem countries knows that in many, non-Islamic religions are not only discriminated against, but, in places, persecuted.

    The moment Saudi Arabia allows the construction of the first Church, the first Buddhist temple and the first Hindu temple on its territory, only then can the Swiss allow the construction of minarets on their territory.

  84. 157 Tom
    November 30, 2009 at 19:23

    I continue to hear that laws and ruling have been passed in the US and the EU where the people effected say they are being discriminated against . No matter how it is justified, if a large group says they feel discriminated against than there is discrimination. Justifications are just an excuse and don’t bring resolution to these issues they just exacerbate the issues and build a divide between people.

  85. 158 EchoRose in Florida
    November 30, 2009 at 19:24

    I find it completely unbelievable that architechture is THAT important to the common person; important to the point of banning a specific design? I think if people are frightened of other cultures, they should at least have the decency to admit it instead of framing it behind a false pretense.

  86. November 30, 2009 at 19:26

    Swiss sensibilities need to be respected. The Swiss do not want a similar situation to arise as in Denmark over the cartoons.

  87. 160 Abdul Baseer from India
    November 30, 2009 at 19:26

    The lady said no Christmas at school well why would a SECULAR DEMOCRATIC country have a religious celebration at public school? That is being partial and not secular.
    We are not talking about Saudi MONARCHY here which I am totally against.

  88. 161 Bruce - Texas
    November 30, 2009 at 19:27

    People are saying it is okay because the people voted on it; don’t forget, the people wanted to keep slavery in the South before the Civil War. Currently, people in the States are voting to prevent homosexual marriages. Is the majority always right?

  89. 163 thomas
    November 30, 2009 at 19:29

    i just heard your speaker say “would you ban any other religiion as you banned minarets in switzerland?” what a nonsense question! its not th religion of the muslims thats banned, its the minarets!! this discussion goes way besides the problem. nobody in switzerland will forbid a muslim to practise his religion. Stay on the ground

  90. 164 patti in cape coral
    November 30, 2009 at 19:30

    So what if churches are not allowed to be built in muslim countries? If the muslims jump off the Brooklyn bridge, does that mean you have to as well? There may be good reasons or logical reasons for this ban, but just because muslim countries don’t allow churches is not one of them.

    • 165 Saut
      December 1, 2009 at 02:59

      Patti, this is a a bit of stretch! All this while I thought our Muslim brothers got a good take on self-sacrifice nothing like your bridge jumping absurdity. You even got something against fashion…Muslims can ban this or that but not the Swiss or everbody else.

      • 166 patti in cape coral
        December 1, 2009 at 14:03

        Saut – Perhaps I should explain literally. That many muslim countries do now allow churches or any type of christian worship building to be built is wrong, but that does not make it right for us to do it. As to fashion, I have no idea what you are talking about.

        “Muslims can ban this or that but not the Swiss or everbody else.”

        Obviously anybody can ban anything, that does not mean they should.

  91. 167 EchoRose in Florida
    November 30, 2009 at 19:31

    I think they’ve sent a message to Muslims that they are either Afraid of them and/or Rejecting them.

  92. 168 Bob in Queensland
    November 30, 2009 at 19:32

    Even if the Swiss seriously believe Islam is a threat to western culture, what do they seriously hope to achieve by banning such an insignificant symbol as a minaret? Would banning bell towers have stopped the spread of Christianity?

  93. 169 Daniel, Spain
    November 30, 2009 at 19:32

    Something is very wrong here… What do you want a piece of stone for? Don’t you have freedom to pray? don’t you have a temple to do so? stop telling us europeans how to rule our community, our lifes, our country and even our sense of humor (mahoma pictures, remember?) ! Nobody asked you to come, either integrate or leave! the West has proven to be tolerant: Londom, Berlin, NY, Barcelona… So many examples of muslims doing well because they respected the culture of the country that wellcomed them…. But for some of them is not enough! They then want more Mosques payed by us, they want to have the righ to bring ALL their family to the country, they want to enjoy the benefits of our Social Care before they’re even legal…. Excuse me but I don’t think we are wellcome in most of the countries they come from. Why don’t they start using all this energy in something more positive like human rights and freedom throughout the muslim world, instead of wasting it on this useless minatet issue?

  94. 170 Roslyn in Seattle
    November 30, 2009 at 19:32

    There is no point in Switzerland “proud of having freedom of religion” when you don’t allow them to fully build places of worship. I think that effectively makes you just as intolerant as a fundamentalist Islamic country.

    You ask if I would vote for this there was a similar referendum in my country – I’d vote to allow the building of minarets. The US tries to embrace the idea of pluralistic traditions and I think having literally ‘something for everyone’ in terms of worship is a wonderful symbol of what the more sensible among us try to aspire to in our culture.

  95. 171 miguel gutierrez
    November 30, 2009 at 19:35

    There aren’t muslin in the Vatican City that justify the costruction of a mosche inside, instead there are milions of cristian in Arabia and they can’t build a church.

  96. 172 julie in Ohio
    November 30, 2009 at 19:35

    How odd not to hear the word “secular” in this discussion. I believe Swizerland is standing for ll of Europe, and the referendum is really a matter of asserting secularism as a fundamental value of modern, especially post-WW-II Europe.

  97. 173 Sam in Montreal
    November 30, 2009 at 19:36

    The question of assimilation must be addressed. The fact that people are not assimilating to their host country is causing friction and fears in western countries. Integration into western society is essential for all cultures to get along.

  98. 174 Anthony
    November 30, 2009 at 19:37

    @ Allison Stephens

    “Sounds like “tyranny of the majority” to me.”

    Really? Tyranny? That’s what tyranny is? Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  99. 175 Margie in Portland
    November 30, 2009 at 19:39

    I am deeply saddened to hear that a democracy such as Switzerland has taken such an extremely intolerant stance.

    I have been shocked in recent times to hear about the difficulty that Muslim girls & women have had with wearing the religiously-based attire they wish to wear in France & Britain, but this is worse! And to think that most Swiss Muslims probably went to live there to escape from ethnic cleansing in the Balkans!

    Do the Muslims in Switzerland have legal recourse?

    While I am sad for the Swiss Muslims, I am, strangely, also a little bit happy to have a chance to feel proud to be an American for a change. It’s embarrassing how far ahead of us Europeans are in things like health care, public environmental awareness and sustainable business practices, unionization, policies promoting healthier family/work balance, etc. But for once, I can feel proud of our relative tolerance of immigrant’s religious practices. I’d like to invite any Swiss Muslims who want to build a Minaret to come and live in Portland!

  100. 176 Nate, Portland OR
    November 30, 2009 at 19:39

    The Muslim guests on this show typify what I find frustrating in dealing with Muslims who are apparently quite happy to live in a pluralistic, secularly governed community. When the Islamsists in their midst are pointed out, they just say “thats not Islam, its a wrong interpretation.” When the gross mistreatment of religious minorities in Islamic countries is pointed out, they say “thats not Islam, its a wrong interpretation.” But they don’t confront these wrong interpretations! They just keep their heads down and try to get on with their personal lives.

    That’s fine, most people just want to get on with their lives in peace. But in countries where Islam hasn’t suffocated every other culture its left to the non-Muslims to protect themselves. The non-Muslims don’t understand the distinctions between right and wrong interpretations of Islam, and shouldn’t have to. But when non-Muslims have to confront these “wrong interpretations” they’re left with very blunt instruments, such as head scarf and minarete bans, that can negatively affect the tolerant, pluralistic Muslims.

  101. 177 Tom D Ford
    November 30, 2009 at 19:39

    What does the Swiss Constitution say?

    Sometimes the highest court in the land has to rule against populist initiatives that are unconstitutional.

    I am anti-Religion but banning it is not the answer, education is the answer in the long run.

    Education, education, education.

  102. 178 Joseph A. Migliore
    November 30, 2009 at 19:39

    The Swiss decision demonstrates the growing rift between Islam and the West, further fueled by a growing trend of Islamophobia.
    If the European Union (EU) commission can vote and issue a ban on Crucifixes displayed in Italian schools and Italian public spaces, then the Swiss have the right to ban minarets from being built in Swiss cities.
    Obviously the Swiss decision contradicts the principles of secularism, but, this decision was obviously based on growing fears of the spread of Islamic principles and culture in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe.

  103. 179 Anthony
    November 30, 2009 at 19:40

    Everyone is talking about this backlash… what does that tell you about a religion when were must worry about a backlash in a situation like this?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  104. 180 David in Winston Salem, North Carolina
    November 30, 2009 at 19:43

    The decision of the people of Switzerland does not diminish the worship of Islam nor its symbolism. It does however demonstrate constraint on the part of how religions may impact a community. I would no more support minarets in my community than I would the desire of the christian church to erect monumental crosses. Tolerance soes not mean ‘free reign’.

  105. 181 Deana
    November 30, 2009 at 19:43

    I’m absolutely horrified by the kinds of responses you’ve been getting to this show – they demonstrate they not only demonstrate the phenomenal ignorance about Islam and Muslims in the West (have none of your listeners heard of Sufism, for example, or the incredibly syncretic Muslim traditions of countries such as India and Indonesia?) but it’s a terrible irony that they’re coming on a day that news is breaking of yet another Nazi trial. Muslims are, unfortunately, today’s new Jews. We never learn. We also chose to highlight the small minority of Muslim extremists over the wealth and beauty of this religion and the cultures it has nurtured, while ignoring the rampant growth of extremism in other religions (i.e. American fChristian undamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism – even Buddhist fundamentalism in Sri Lanka).

  106. 182 Ali
    November 30, 2009 at 19:44

    No matter what Europeans see about Muslims, they will prevail, because Muslims all over the world has common faith. And that’s one third of global population. Muslims are now the Jews of 21st century. Global so called super powers has declared war against Muslims in the name of war against terror. But at the end of the day Muslims are winning, because Muslims have faith. We will see how Swiss will fall in this trap as it happen to Denish.

    • 183 David
      November 30, 2009 at 19:56

      Quote from Ali….”We will see how Swiss will fall in this trap as it happen to Denish.”

      Doesn’t that one sentence tell you all that you need to know about “the religion of peace”?

      Sure, there are Christian fundamentalists and I’ll criticise them just as fulsomely as I do Muslims…just as soon as they go around flying planes into buildings, setting people afire and hacking off the heads of captives.

  107. 184 Nayan, Canada
    November 30, 2009 at 19:46

    I write as a non-muslim — the swiss need to go back to their principles, values and rights. What is this talk about “those” people; do swiss nationals have freedom of worship and freedom of expression? How will they deal with the situation if a non-muslim, say a christian voluntarily opt to become a muslim, and then go on to want to build a mosque with a minaret? Will he or she be deprived of the rights that he or she currently enjoys? Will he or she become a lesser citizen? Switzerland has to make up its mind whether it is a secular country or a theocracy?

  108. 185 D from Indiana
    November 30, 2009 at 19:46

    This reminds me of 1940’s segregation in the South here in the states.

  109. November 30, 2009 at 19:47

    This legally segregates Swiss society into Muslims and non-Muslims, resembling Israel’s legal segregation of their citizens into Jews and non-Jews.

  110. 187 Tom D Ford
    November 30, 2009 at 19:48

    Just what is “the job” in Afghanistan? We chased out Al Qaeda, so the reason for the invasion has been accomplished and that job is done, so now what has “the job” been morphed into?

    That’s what I want to hear from Obama.

  111. 188 Alice
    November 30, 2009 at 19:50

    I think the Swiss vote is an embarrassment.

    Intolerance is no way to combat intolerance.

    • 189 Josiah Soap
      November 30, 2009 at 20:42

      Alice. I think these days intolerance is the only way to combat intolerance. Muslims are intolerant of western ways, westerners (rightly so) have to obey Muslim laws and views in Muslim countries. When Muslims move to another country they must adapt to their host culture. I am proud of my culture and heritage. I want to preserve it and I am not interested in having it watered down or changed by immigrants. If that makes me intolerant/racist/hateful then its a badge I’ll wear with pride.

  112. 190 John from Greensboro, NC
    November 30, 2009 at 19:51

    Minaret, cross, pentagram, star of David… why should any of these be banned in a country that claims freedom of religion?

  113. 191 Todd in Atlanta
    November 30, 2009 at 19:51

    What really bothers me in general is the fact that there hasn’t been an audible, visible and collective voice from members of the Islamic community, speaking out against all these ridiculous interpretations of the religion.

    Interpretations that condone all manner of oppression,and victimization against women and those who don’t follow the religion according to their vision. This lack of vocalization against extremism is part of the root problem, and what is now motivating all these laws and referendums (right or wrong…mostly wrong) against Muslims. I love Islam, and their incredible contribution to history, but the extremism needs to be dealt with.

  114. 192 Kacey USA
    November 30, 2009 at 19:52

    Bad Call! They should either declare a national religion or allow all religions and symbols. It is an unfortunate reaction in response to the real issue: The failure of Islamic leadrs to discourage and stamp out militant extremists.

  115. 193 steve
    November 30, 2009 at 19:53

    @ Deana

    When they build death camps and 50% of the world’s muslims are murdered in a systematic plot, then your comparision would be valid. But to compare banning of minarets to the treatment of jews is frankly insulting.

  116. 194 Rich
    November 30, 2009 at 19:55

    It’s difficult to tell whether this ban is right or wrong. After all, right and wrong are subjective when dealing with cultural differences. The person who made the comment about building pubs all over a Muslim country had a good point… In Libya, for example, just bringing alcohol into the country can cost you prison time, let alone building a pub. The important thing to remember is that even in democracies, not all subcultures will be equally represented. This is true of gay marriage in the United States. Every group who is not the majority will at some point face resistance. What separates the strong from the week is their persistence in achieving their own equality.

  117. 195 Todd in Atlanta
    November 30, 2009 at 19:58

    In addition, if I understand this correctly, people wanting to be residents or citizens in Amsterdam/ The Netherlands are shown videos of the full spectrum of the secular culture (yes, the good, bad and ugly) and if it offends the applicants sensibilities, they are free to go elsewhere. I mention this in response to the earlier comment about Muslims removing their kids from swimming classes. People should be free to engage and practice their culture and religion anywhere, but when it starts disrupting other aspects of the society, then that’s a problem.

    • 196 Margie in Portland
      November 30, 2009 at 20:04

      @ Todd in Atlanta:
      How does Muslims removing their kids from swimming classes disrupt society? (I’m not a Muslim, by the way, I just want to understand the point you are trying to make…)

  118. 197 Louis Marchand
    November 30, 2009 at 19:58

    Hi,

    I am not at ease with the Swiss decision however, you reap what you sow. We can say that this may be the start of the backlash. Often time, the Islamist portion of Muslims are using the laws of the “western” countries in order to advance their political agenda. Also, I take it as a response to the lukewarm, if any, condemnation of terrorist acts from the muslim community at large, which, more often then not, are perpatrated by radical islamists.

    It is sad but people know that Islam is a Proselystism religion.

    Montreal.

  119. 198 Half-Not
    November 30, 2009 at 19:59

    Unless you have debated the issue at the core of this, is there anything wrong with disliking a religion or all religions? You have entirely jumped the gun. How can you address this issue when we have all collectively skipped a step. You should devote a show to this issue, it is an important one.

  120. 199 Jamie
    November 30, 2009 at 20:02

    A world wide caliphate is what muslims are charged to bring about. They will use your sense of fair play and justice, your democratic institutions to carve their place in your culture. They will then demand they be allowed to establish their own schools, courts, government institutions all with your taxpayers money. They will then increase their numbers by manipulating you to ease your immigration limits. They will then become the majority and will gut your culture and you will convert or die. This is an inter-generational struggle. They are a patient people and will wait you out until you are the minority. Jamie, US.

    • 200 Jim Hawkins
      December 1, 2009 at 23:35

      Well said, Jamie.
      Europe has sown the seeds of its own destruction in allowing muslim immigration.
      The only hope is for all European countries to become secular again and for them to ban all religions from taking any role in political, cultural and educational organizations.

    • 201 jacq
      December 2, 2009 at 01:24

      Exactly my thoughts, wish I could have had said it. Right on the nail. By the time the West will figure it out, it will be too late or is it too late already.

  121. 202 Joseph A. Migliore
    November 30, 2009 at 20:26

    The Swiss decision demonstrates the growing rift between Islam and the West, further fueled by a growing trend of Islamophobia.

    If the European Union (EU) commission can vote and issue a ban on Crucifixes displayed in Italian schools and Italian public places, then the Swiss have the right to ban minarets from being built in Swiss cities. There is obviously a great deal of symbolism in Europe, for building a Mosque, or for the minarets.

    Consequently, the Swiss decision contradicts the principles of secularism, but, this decision was obviously based on growing fears of the spread of Islamic principles and culture in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe, for that matter.

    The Swiss reform, touches on the very nerve of my graduate thesis, “is Islam and Islamic culture, compatible to Western European ideals and culture?” You’ll have to wait until I finish writing my thesis to answer this increasing dilemma.

  122. 203 Eric Prather
    November 30, 2009 at 20:30

    A gentleman, possibly one of the guests on the show, made a comment that banning the minarets in Switzerland was banning Islamic symbols from being displayed.

    Is not the Cresant Moon and Star the symbol of the Islamic faith, just as the Cross is the Christian symbol and the Star of David the symbol of the Jewish faith? The minaret is the equivalent to a bell tower. Both are used to call their people to prayer. The bell tower is not a symbol of the Christian faith, therefore, the minaret is not a symbol of the Islamic faith.

    At least the West allows mosques to be built so Muslims are allowed to practice Islam, unlike many of the countries that practice Islam.

    The West also allows Islam to display the Cresant, unlike most Muslim countries when it comes to the Cross.

    Both religions have their fanatics and extremist, but I think Islam should be happy that they have been given the better deal when it comes to practicing their faith in the West, due to the West being tolerant where religion is concerned, then we do when it comes to practicing our faith in the East.

    Eric in Ohio, USA

  123. 204 Ethan
    November 30, 2009 at 20:40

    This is what the minaret means to non-Muslims … from the Islamic faith:

    Hadith, Bukari Volume 1, Book 8, Number 387: Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.” Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik, “O Abu Hamza! What makes the life and property of a person sacred?” He replied, “Whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’, faces our Qibla during the prayers, prays like us and eats our slaughtered animal, then he is a Muslim, and has got the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have.”

    Islam is organized religious discrimination at the complete social, judicial, and political level woven into every thread of faith and society. Just being honest.

  124. 205 Huib van den Doel
    November 30, 2009 at 21:03

    It may be right to criticise the Swiss for violating their own values. However, Muslims have no right to protest as long as:
    – Many Muslim countries have registerded reservations to the Human Rights Declaration;
    – Building of churches is formally forbidden in some Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia) or is made practically impossible in others;
    – Christians, Hindus and Bahai are prosecuted, jailed, killed and forced into forced marriages (Irak, Iran, Pakistan);
    – Christians are treated as second-class citzens (Egypt)
    – Conversion to another faith is treated as a capital crime.

    Tolerance is mutual. Many Muslims don’t seem to understand that.

    Huib van den Doel, Holland

  125. 206 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 21:09

    Ali,

    which trap in denmark? i think denmark is still doing infinitly better than 90% of muslim countries. it is this total self indulgance of muslims, who believe they are better and superior to anybody else who leads to descissions like in switzerland. people are tired of islam beating it’s chest and proclaiming the demise of all other people. you may be over one billion, but then so are we atheists and we are growing not by birth but by people realizing that religion is archaic.

  126. 207 m
    November 30, 2009 at 21:30

    I am writing due to the what is spoken on the radio at the moment, crescent and cross.. on the corruption…

    particularly when it comes to the point of profiting everybody is corrupt.. or the ladies, even magnificent sultans were/are deeply corrupt..

  127. 208 jens
    November 30, 2009 at 21:42

    i think the signal clearly shows that the west is getting tired of “tolerating the intolerable”.

    islam expects us to tolerate their faith, while they are unwilling to tolerate our society and believe system. as one writer said above you reap what you sow……

  128. 209 GTR5
    November 30, 2009 at 21:48

    Democracy at work. Finally, we see a nation of voters who have the backbone to say no to the Muslims. Perhaps they remembered the old Arab saying “once the camel gets his nose into the tent, the rest will follow”.

  129. 210 Guillermo
    November 30, 2009 at 22:01

    Intolerance would be the right word for banning minarets. But also in islamic countries intolerance goes to the extreme of banning not only religion but the freedom to speak, dress and other little things. Also the Catholic Church is intolerant where she is majority but when is in minority it claims intolerance.
    The problem has arisen because of the extremism of some muslims. Terrorism is not new. The central point is that in name of religion it is made an arm to conquer countries. We must remember that the Muslim Empire was done by the simple expedient, “believe or die”. If the swiss decide on this ban it is criticable but it is their sovereign wish. To respect their decision means Peace within other countries. To rule over countries around the world is war.

  130. November 30, 2009 at 22:17

    As a strict non-believer/Atheist, I find this whole situation one that speaks to the need for LESS RELIGION in our world.

    Imagine cultural assimilation without religious strife. Imagine the world becoming a smarter, more inclusive place, where we can actually sort out differences like mature, responsible people.

    Sorry to be cliché, my friends, but John Lennon had it right.

    Christians, Muslims, Islamists, put down your holy books and start living life without the boundaries that old religions have indoctrinated you with.

    The world would be a MUCH brighter place without religion.

  131. 212 Joseph
    December 1, 2009 at 00:07

    Maybe politically incorrect but 100% democratic. And I fully agree and if I have had that option I would use it as well. Give people the right to choose and they will not do exactly what government would. Trouble is that governments are scared of people, scared of democracy.

  132. December 1, 2009 at 00:57

    The Swiss Muslims are still free to practice their religion and build their mosques. They can pray five times a day, and the women can cover themselves. If they want to live in a country dominated by minarets and run by Muslim clerics, they are free to move to such a place. The decision of the Swiss to refrain from building more minarets shows a love of their history and culture, which are not Muslim in origin. If a Christian or Jew wants to practice her religion in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, etc., she risks persecution, jail, or even death. That is intolerance! However, I believe these countries have the sovereignty to shape their society based upon THEIR history and culture.

  133. 214 Iain
    December 1, 2009 at 01:00

    Has any bleating liberal noticed that the only thing they have banned is minarets. They have not banned the practice of the religion, the have not banned mosques, they have just stopped elements of buildings being built that are totally out of kilter with existing Swiss architecture.

  134. 215 Chris
    December 1, 2009 at 01:16

    Salute to the glorious Swiss people! Your new Reconquista is doomed to total victory!
    The Muslims should well ask themselves how they have invited hatred and fear towards them and what they have done to resurrect themselves so far.

  135. 216 claudine
    December 1, 2009 at 01:23

    maybe it is islamophobia, maybe it is not.

    Switzerland has a sizeable Muslim population since when? Not more than 50 years.
    All those hundreds of years before the Swiss lived their culture and style of life.

    Putting in something that is so out of place for Swiss conditions like those minarets can be unacceptable.

    Islamophobia can naturally also play a role since every time we hear about terrorists, death and destruction through terrorists the Islam and islamists stand there at first place.

    I know that in some areas of Islamic countries a few Christian communities can be found, but many ask themselves:
    If they dont tolerate our believes why should we tolerate too much of them? After all they are immigrants. They could go back to their own countries and have there as many minarets as they want.

  136. 217 Ronald
    December 1, 2009 at 01:32

    There is a strange thing about history. We don’t consider the present and ourselves as a real part of it. So we make all exceptions we can to justify that behaviour and place ourself skyhigh. We only can look back in history. So, in 50 or hundred years we will say in our armchair: “Europa was resiting very much the coexcistence with the Islamic religions. But now things have changed”. Can you imagine how Africans, Amerindians and Aboriginals felt when they had to accept Western Christianity in their living areas? We cares now? And why shoud you?
    So take just a minute and wonder who made you care and why.
    If you find only reasons loaded fear and danger you are right!
    That is very human. Even monkeys fear things they dont know.
    Step two is to wonder how many contacts you had for real with the ones you fear. If that number is zero and your information was only the media I have good news for you. Many, many new friends are waiting to meet you. For real! Never forget that there nothing so nice like new friends. Go for it, dont fear, we are all equal.

    • 218 Kevin PE
      December 1, 2009 at 12:13

      In Europa 50 to 100 years from now, you might very well need permission to build a church or synagogue. I’ll also guarantee that there won’t be any referendum to decide the request. Personally I think Europeans will get what they deserve as their cultures fade into obscurity.

  137. 219 Abram
    December 1, 2009 at 02:47

    Switzerland belongs to the Swiss, as England to the English, Zimbabwe to the Zimbabweans, or Serbia to Serbians. Contemporary Minorities should always behave like guests, and respect the sensitivities of the indigenous population. If guests would like to continue living in their hosting countries, they should ask in a serious and civilized manner why there is discomfort and fear among the indigenous population. 59% of the population can not be classified as crazy, right-wing, intolerant or Islamophobic. The Swiss had their say, and it’s now up to those who criticize their decision to question their faith and do something about it.

  138. 220 Nick from Australia
    December 1, 2009 at 02:52

    To answer you question about what westerners in other countries would vote. if I was confronted with such referendum I would definitely VOTE AGAINST IT!

  139. December 1, 2009 at 03:04

    Very sad day for democracy. What is the use of democracy when majority of the people are “swayed” by people who think religious intolerance is the right way?
    I posted a discussion on the topic “How Global Are We?” on the site BBCGLOBALMINDS.COM . This referendum clearly shows we still have “local minds” not “global minds”.
    Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa

  140. 222 monica
    December 1, 2009 at 04:09

    Did you see the movie “Bread and Chocolate”? The Swiss were not tolerant at that time in history and it appears that their true color preference (blond) is showing again.

  141. 223 Tan Boon Tee
    December 1, 2009 at 04:27

    The Swiss have decided what is best for their nation. Let it be.

    Whether there could be a backlash from the local or international Muslim community, it is beside the point.

    The missile look-alike minarets on the picture seem unnecessarily threatening. But that would be a different matter.

  142. 224 Aftab Shibli Fatmi
    December 1, 2009 at 06:07

    We often find lunatic behaviour in europe. Sometimes it is ban on wearing a turban by sikh and sometimes it is ban on scarf used by muslim girls/ women. Sometimes on the name of freedom of expression one makes mockery of Islam & Prpohet Muhammad and now a referendum on minarets. With this sick & narrow thiking, people in europe brand rest of the world as conservative & think that they desrve to be called most liberal.

    As far asMinarets is concerned I will be the first person to object its construction if it is going to be an aviation hazard but not because of religious bias or fear.

    I welcome all those in the world and specially people who have voted aginst the construction of miarets or feel that it was the right decision to visit India which has less than 2% Christian population but every city has several huge Churches with sprawling compound. Visit our countryside and you will find from small to huge churches and mosques in a country where the followers of Hindu faith account for almost 80% of population.

    With this refrendum, the Swiss people have proved that behind the mask of liberal there is an ugly face as well

  143. December 1, 2009 at 06:20

    It does not just sound and look right. Whatever way you look at it it does not not sound right. Religion is religion and if one claim to be a democratic country, these are some of the basic fundamental rights to be recognized (Freedom of Worship). I believe in imitating something that is good rather than imitating bad things. If Saudi Arabia banned Churches does not mean a country like Switzerland, prceived to be a democracy must ban parts of a mosque. Then the authorities or the people better off ban Islamic practices in the country, but you can’t have it two ways, No. This will only breed misunderstanding and resentment that may lead to some type of unpredictable unrest. Except if Switzerland is telling the world that she has a different type of Democracy for different sects in the country.

  144. 226 Tamatoa, Zurich
    December 1, 2009 at 06:26

    How do we go forward?
    My suggestion for the Muslims is to stop trying to build minaretts for now. If they think that the fears are irrational and fighting ignorance with intellectual arguments doesn’t work then stop doing it. You will only seem more radicalist and confirm their fears.
    If you want to integrate then do what’s democratic and accept the referendum. Look at the facts, the way you fight the Swiss ignorance at the moment isn’t working. So try something else, maybe approach external NGOs. And if you believe in democracy the referendum will be reversed later.
    Just stop talking. The more you say – no matter if you’re right – the more you feed their hate. If God is justice then he will right this wrong. Maybe not today but God will prevail.

  145. 227 JAMSHID
    December 1, 2009 at 06:43

    western democracy has proved self destructive

  146. 228 Mikhail
    December 1, 2009 at 07:25

    The problem is the fact that cultural defense and religious intolerance are the same thing. You cannot both defend your culture and tolerate prevailing of a strange religion which is an important part of culture.
    Then, if we want to protect rights of minorities, we should tolerate the right of tiny Switzerland to set its laws on its land, like many Muslim countries do.

  147. 229 Indian
    December 1, 2009 at 07:48

    How can you people justify the Swiss people decision is wrong. It is their country and it is their choice. If you people allow these religious people to build structures like this, they will always try to change your country to an Islamic country. In India these people have built mosques nearer to the roads and it is a major problem to expand the roads for the increased traffic. These people does not allow the Indian government to expand the roads. Daily Indian people faces so much time to escape traffic jams. I want to tell one thing “You can do anything anywhere without disturbing others”.

    • 230 JAMSHID
      December 2, 2009 at 06:05

      i think it is the other way round. i have been there, your cows and temple is the real hardel for the trafic. it is known by all who have visited india. you should defend your ethnic minority not westerners who haved exploited you in the past.

  148. 231 Moises
    December 1, 2009 at 08:03

    It’s not a good idea: EU have to say something about it. The power of the majority needs also a limit.

  149. 232 John in Brussels
    December 1, 2009 at 08:33

    As an American Jew living in Europe, I am nothing short of outraged by the Swiss referendum result. Just imagine the outcry if the Swiss people had voted to ban the construction of synogogues, or at least some conspicuous architectural element thereof.

  150. 233 Brian
    December 1, 2009 at 08:44

    What’s the big deal? They banned minarets, not mosques. It is time that Muslims join the 21th century and rather than have some bearded old fool yell from a tower at indecent hours, why not send out a text message to the faithful to start praying?

    Before the Muslims start complaining about the people of Zurich, they should look at what freedoms their faith provide to women and gays.

  151. 234 Murton
    December 1, 2009 at 09:00

    I had thought that Switzerland was a model of neutrality, and some people here are pointing out how long it took women to get the vote in some portions of the country…in other words, there seems to be an element of backwardness that seems to belies Swiss reputation in my mind…still, the arguments here opposing the mosque are very specious…one assumes that the building of mosques will be a breeding ground for radical Islamists…this of course is making assumptions that is based on some troublemakers amongst the millions who are not. It is prejudiced and narrowminded, and has become pervasive among some in the West. Here in America, the founding fathers debated the importance of whether citizens should be allowed to practice their religion free of prejudice or persecution. Seems to me the Swiss have decided that persecuting the many for the errors of a few among Muslims is the way to go…not a sign of tolerance or openmindedness I had imagined was what was the Swiss way of doing things…guess I imagined wrong.

  152. 235 Murton
    December 1, 2009 at 09:04

    Bad Call! They should either declare a national religion or allow all religions and symbols. It is an unfortunate reaction in response to the real issue: The failure of Islamic leadrs to discourage and stamp out militant extremists.

    Good point…but I don’t think it is the Swiss government’s role to question the “failure of Islamic leaders to discourage and stamp out militant extremists…” I think it would require interfaith discussion amongst many religious leaders around the world to probe this question and determine how best to rout out the troublesome few who distort, debauch and misuse Islam for their sinister motives.

  153. 236 Hussein
    December 1, 2009 at 09:15

    Hey: All

    I don’t think that westerns will only stop their actions against islam on to banning minerats, alot more actions is expected.
    No matter with mosque with no minerats but this abegining of anti-islam/mosques in Europe
    Also there is anti-islam campaign wich are lounching all western medias including BBC it’s self .
    what I am sure is that this will result Islam demoghraphic in Europe and all over the world
    Respection between the great faiths is the best to live with out problem

    please don’t hesitate if you have any question of my comments

    • 237 Dee
      December 1, 2009 at 11:09

      Respect between the faiths goes both ways. In the Christian faiths you can denounce it and leave or change or be a non believer with no fear of reprisals. This is not so in Islam, how many go into hiding or are stoned to death because they are free to choose a different way. How can you respect a religion when it is so barbaric in many aspects and who does not treat everyone equally. How many Muslim homosexuals are there who live in fear for being found out. You want respect, then respect all Humanity equally no matter what religion, creed and gender. Once Mulims do that then they are free.

  154. 238 alfonso
    December 1, 2009 at 09:45

    Of course there was bound to be “shock, horror” when the Swiss banned minarrets.
    I wonder what reaction a simmular referendum would prevoke in say Saudi Arabia if the Christians wanted to build a few churches with spires around the country. I would suggest it would lead to quite a few riots. Not all Muslims are intolerant but I think there are rather more of them than there are Non Muslims. Remember we live in a PC world. Pitty it is only inhabited by 10% of the population, the rest of us want to be FREE to make up our own minds “right or wrong”.

  155. 239 David
    December 1, 2009 at 10:23

    There are many liberals, posting here, who have the idea that “all people are equal”.

    Bizarre.

    Let me tell you, we are NOT all equal…under Allah.

    Some of those who are less equal than others are

    Homosexuals
    Women
    Non-muslims
    Jews
    Apostates
    Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Catholics…the list is endless.

    A rejection of islamic culture is the only rational option that is left to Western society. All else is tyranny.

    • 240 Dee
      December 1, 2009 at 11:01

      Precisely. In Switzerland under the eyes of the law and written in the constitution all are equal, therefore Islam is unconstitutional and aspects are illegal. Muslims are free to worship, but must be able to adapt to the laws of the land they live in. If they don’t then they are breaking the law and should be dealt with accordingly. If I break the law, I will be punished under the law.

      • 241 Ibrahim in UK
        December 1, 2009 at 16:04

        Building a minaret was not against the law. Muslims didn’t change the law, they operated within it. It is the far right that didn’t like the law of the land and changed it to specifically disallow minarets.

    • 242 bowater
      December 1, 2009 at 14:28

      excellent!

  156. 243 claudine
    December 1, 2009 at 11:34

    @Art Lab
    you wrote:
    “Very sad day for democracy. What is the use of democracy when majority of the people are “swayed” by people who think religious intolerance is the right way?”

    I think its a good day for democracy. Where would we end up if election results would always be disputed and a minority would get the say.
    It seems the majority really didn’t want minarets, dont forget you can sway perhaps a minority but not so many. Since the majority has spoken it would not be right for the minority to show themselves as sore losers and start fighting over it.

  157. December 1, 2009 at 11:36

    with referendum and democracies,its the majority that win and get the biggest share in making a decision…when muslims there vreach 51%,then they will have the power……but i think such things as minartets do affects someones faith for why would it hurt if they removed them?

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  158. 245 sal musa
    December 1, 2009 at 11:43

    rediculous!! this kind of discramination will only breed hate towards the swiss.. i thought the swiss were a nuetral, broad minded and democratically fair nation.(democracy does not only mean vote by majority, it also should protect the rights of minorities, the) how wrong was i to believe that..as for some questioning about churches in mecca, thats a holy city, will a mosque be allowed in the vatican?!! hypocrites!!

  159. 246 Mark from Zürich
    December 1, 2009 at 11:51

    If a friend were to stay with me in my house, whatever his nationality, whichever culture he comes form, he may pray to whichever god he prays to or not to pray at all. He may do his normal routine as long as it’s not disturbing me from carrying on with my life.

    But if the days day comes when he wants to put an aquarium in the salon, he may ask me for permission, but ultimately, the decision is mine. If I say no, then it ends there. It shouldn’t be taken badly. No need of any ulterior form of retaliation whatsoever.

    • 247 Josiah Soap
      December 1, 2009 at 14:12

      Excellent analogy. There are too many people thinking that banning a very small part of the religion = total discrimination and hate.

  160. 248 Arbibi Ashoy
    December 1, 2009 at 11:54

    Those who support the ban on minarets claim that Muslims should not complain since many Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia don’t permit freedom of religion. In other words = Be done as you did. This is a poor argument that is also used by Al-Qaeda. Remember the famous phrase by Osama BIn Laden “Why should they live in peace when we do not live in peace”. Osama Bin Laden talks about the US attacks on Muslim countries such as Somalia, Libya and Iraq as well as the US support for Israel as justification for Sept 11. Hence we see how the bigots in Switzerland have much in common with Al-Qaeda.

  161. 250 wale
    December 1, 2009 at 12:14

    Hi, its high time that the Muslims world wide get wiser!
    If they hate our religion, why buy their products?
    From now on, NO to any product from Swiss.
    Insha Allah, am going to be a an active campaigner against the consummption of any of their product.
    There are enough countries that respect Islam and needed to be patronized.
    Enough of these Muslim haters.

  162. 251 Ibrahim in UK
    December 1, 2009 at 12:18

    The majority of the Swiss voted for a far right party so one would expect them to embrace the far right agendas. After all, the ban on minarets was not about noise (none of the existing 4 minarets actually call to prayer), or architecture or skyline (all minarets are built to Swiss buidling codes), it was about the far-right paranoia that Muslims (4% of the Swiss population) are taking over the world and will force sharia on all, symbolised by minarets.
    Whether the ban contravenes the Swiss constitutional laws will be seen, but this is another alarm bell for Europe to highlight the effects of mismanaged immigration policies.

  163. 252 Jack
    December 1, 2009 at 13:24

    I respect democratic choices, if they wanted to vote no so that’s their choice. but I beleive people should be credible and honest if you do not like muslims why trade with them or ask for financial help when the crisis hit you (fyi Switzerland earns £ 10bn a year from Muslims). and @ david A lawyer before saying that somebody is guilty he should know first of all the law and the case before talking.

  164. 253 bowater
    December 1, 2009 at 14:22

    when my ancestors came to the US from Ireland, one of the first things they did was to burn their “Irish looking” clothes. They wanted to be American, look, talk, and act like an American. This is what the Muslims need to do if they want to be socially accepted in a country. Muslims that live permanently in a western country should do the same to assimilate into the culture. Then westerners would not be so paranoid of Muslims. Religious tolerence would follow.

  165. 254 BonAnne
    December 1, 2009 at 14:29

    Why is everone bring up, “Arab states are not democratic and free” thing to justify their intolerance and persecution of minorities. Most African states are poor and undemocratic, yet they are way more tolerant and civilized than even the most secular Islamic state, Turkey — as Africans allow everyone to practice all sorts of faiths in their countries.

  166. 255 Moeka From Freetown
    December 1, 2009 at 14:31

    I have the feeling of leaving i Europe after my working days in Africa… to me Swiss was my first option. But with the signs of wonder lingering in my mind and my statement of don’t know what is going on. I want to clear the air and say Africa is the best place to stay. In most part of Africa churches are built along sides mosques Muslims inter marriage with Christians they are argue over their differences yes but still leave as human being. I bet you all Americans and Europeans here what you will see in Africa among people of different faith you will never find in no part of the world. We hate each other and we cry loudly… Africa is a dark continent. To me I have found a new home far from Home.

  167. 256 Pete
    December 1, 2009 at 15:13

    I cannot understand what this ban on minarets in Switzerland makes such huge headlines.

    What about “Qatar’s first Christian church — a small Catholic chapel bearing neither bells nor visible crosses” or “the Saudi monarchy has long banned the open worship of other faiths, even as the number of Catholics resident in Saudi Arabia has risen to 800,000″

    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1723715,00.html

    Or in Muslim majority Malaysia where authorities make it very difficult for temples and churches to be built. One church in Shah Alam, Malaysia took 23 years before approval was given for its building. When the approval was finally given, the condition was made that the church that was built “should not look like a church” http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=11056

    http://www.thenutgraph.com/the-furore-over-hindu-temples

    So it amazes me how when just a ban on minarets make such huge storm all over the world.

    The west is very afraid of Muslims.

  168. 257 jens
    December 1, 2009 at 15:56

    @ Monica,

    there are very very few swiss with blond hair……plus there are many well integrated italians, tamils, blacks etc living in switzerland.

  169. 258 Russell
    December 1, 2009 at 16:05

    Whether or not one likes the banning of minarets, at least the Swiss have real democracy, and real stability because of it. The current UK government has foisted all sorts of measures on its people against their wishes. Bring on government by referenda, the only true democracy, and lets have government of majority common sense, instead of having an ideology being surreptiously forced upon us. With people power, i.e. government by referenda, I believe we wouldn’t have mass immigration, nor would we have been responsible for the deaths of vast numbers of Iraqis, and we wouldn’t be fighting in Afghanistan. On the domestic front we might have discipline in schools, bins emptied without accompanying punitive threats, and so on and so on.

  170. 259 Terry in UK
    December 1, 2009 at 16:15

    I applaud the decision by the Swiss to ban the building of minarets – they have my full support. If there was a similar referendum here in the UK I would most definitely vote for a ban. Likewise I would ban the public ‘call-to-prayer’ and the wearing of all garments that hide or conceal the wearers identity. And most of all I would ban cruel Halal (and Kosher) meat produced by so-called religious slaughter methods that have been scientifically proven to cause unnecessary animal suffering – it makes me extremely angry that we allow such practices in the UK. We should not pander to out-dated and backward beliefs.

    • 260 The-sensible
      December 2, 2009 at 21:49

      quite right – we should not be complacent when keeping an eye on all oppressive religeons… and that includes christian ones.

  171. 261 Kevin PE
    December 1, 2009 at 16:46

    Upward of over 240 posts and one thing is clear, while the majority of “westerners” have differing views of based largely on constitutional and legal rights, every single “Islamic” post rejects the decision outright. To me there is something to be observed here; while the democratic thinkers have and express different views, there appears to be absolutely no place for alternative viewpoints with Muslim commentators. It is precisely this posture that affirms the concern of many westerners that the democratic principles of freedom of thought and expression are threatened by an intransigent Muslim mono-culture. Is it not absurd that liberal democracy is sowing the seeds of its own demise?

    • 262 Ibrahim in UK
      December 1, 2009 at 18:16

      Seeing as there is less than a handful of “Islamic” posters here, and that the ban on minarets was raised by a far right political party that paints all Muslims as enemies of Europe, it’s hardly surprising that “every single” of these handful would protest against this generalisation. Unfortunately it is no not surprising that so many agree with this accusation.

      What is also visible, is that the initial comments supporting the ban cited the Switzerland skyline and noise pollution. However, when these comments were challenged, the subsequent comments were an expression of their hatred for Islam and it’s presence in Europe, and conformed to the right-wing paranoia that Muslims are taking over Europe.

      Europe is full of foreign immigrants that have become vital to the economy. Immigrants have always been the easiest targets and scapegoats when things go wrong. How will Europe balance it’s immediate economic needs while protecting it’s increasingly fearful and resentful populations from being exploited by right-wing populist politicians.

      • 263 Kevin PE
        December 1, 2009 at 20:04

        Ibrahim, firstly I am looking to observe whether any of the “handful” is willing to concede that this type of intolerance does in fact occur in all religious cultures, including Islam. Further, that they are willing to state their objections, if any, publically. When differing opinions and beliefs are open to self inspection and criticism with a view to improvement and understanding, then the way to mutual trust between peoples is opened. It certainly does not bode well when criticism, even misguided ignorance, is diagnosed as hatred.

  172. 264 chris
    December 1, 2009 at 17:31

    As an African I often wonder why leftist thinkers have made Europeans feel sorry for their culture? Why anything can be said against the Christian faith for instance while questioning islam is equated with racism? Why the explicit will of Islam to conquer and submit the world is never told by mainstream media?
    The swiss vote is a response to the many questions muslim don’t want to answer.
    And I say to fellow Africans: don’t fall in the trap of anti colonialism or anti western often misused by those leftists thinkers . Once islam have submitted Europe and the West , next target will be our countries. By the way I have experienced that arabo-muslim racism is even worse than White racism towards blacks.

  173. 265 Arbibi Ashoy
    December 1, 2009 at 17:38

    Does Switzerland have the right to ban minarets? Yes they do.
    Do the people of Afghanistan have the right to kill US occupation troops? Yes they do.
    Is it time for everyone to exercise their rights? No it isn’t.

  174. 266 Mr Jones - UK
    December 1, 2009 at 17:48

    all these posts seem to miss the fundamental question here, would any islamic country allow the building of christian churches, would any islamic state allow the wearing of garments or jewellery that symbolised christian faith.

    Could you imagine an Islamic state allowing the building of a Christian church right next to a Mosque.

    I think you all know that even if the governments allowed (which they would not) the people would definately not and call on the powers to be to stop it.

    The news is always full of how western culture, people and laws are fundamentally biased against islamic religion, but no one dars to ask the question what if the shoe was on the other foot.

    • 267 Ibrahim in UK
      December 1, 2009 at 18:39

      Churches and Christian symbols are present in Islamic countries. In Syria, Jordan, Egypt etc there are Churches side-by-side with Mosques.
      The Islamic world is not as tolerant as Europe (whereas, historically, it was more tolerant). It seems to be quite strange that some of the contributers here celebrate when Europe emulates this intolerance as if it were some form of accolade.

      • 268 Andrew
        December 2, 2009 at 08:48

        Funny, Ibrahim, but all the Muslim countries you mention (Syria, Jordan, Egypt) were Christian countries for centuries before Muslim “immigrants” came along in the 7th century and started building their minarets! These countries didn’t become Muslim overnight. The Islamic world was more tolerant but only while it’s ruling Muslim classes were in the minority.

  175. 269 steve
    December 1, 2009 at 18:39

    Reminder: Minarets are towers for calling people to pray to a fictional deity.

  176. 270 Fazeela from Trinidad
    December 1, 2009 at 19:37

    When I visited Switzerland in the early nineties (and I was wearing the hijab) a supervisor at my company’s office at a luncheon with her manager (a British woman) and myself declared her dislike for immigration. I remember her words “Why can’t people stay in their own countries? Why must they move to other countries? Switzerland for the Swiss and so on”. The British woman and I were horrified and attempted to offer another point of view. But she was firm in her belief. So I am not surprised by this move by the Swiss to ban minarets. It’s their way of saying what that woman said so many years ago. I hope they don’t practise Yoga in Switzerland – after all it’s not Swiss. What about Hare Krishna adherents? Will they be allowed to parade through Geneva or Zurich chanting their songs?
    Wake up Switzerland, the world has changed. It’s a global village! I understand that 20% of the 5 or 6% of the Muslim population in Switzerland do not even practise Islam. So what’s your point?

    • 271 AC
      December 2, 2009 at 10:39

      @Fazeela

      Yoga is already banned in some Muslim countries, because, as you have guessed it is not Muslim enough. So your suggestion here is not very original. Whatever you are asking the Swiss to do, Muslim countries have done ages back (and I did not hear you protest then). The Hare Krishna sect does not say infidels should burn in hell, neither does its religious principles include the injunction to spread the light of Hinduism across the world through whatever means possible. No “imam” of the Hare Krishna cult will want to take over the Buckingham Palace and put the queen in a burqua. Neither will the Hare Krishna members emigrate by the thousands to Switzerland and then demand that the Swiss constitution recognize sharia laws (and we all have heard much about sharia laws in Islamic countries).

      So Fazeela, do you see where your arguments went all wrong?

  177. 272 jacq
    December 1, 2009 at 21:37

    Is not the purpose of minaret a call to prayer? So, if they dont intend to use it as why build it? What the Swiss openly voted is what most Christians think. Islam agenda is to convert the world in spite of themselves (read the Koran) and is doing a very good job. Religion is personal not an architectural matter, they are enough watches in Switzerland without the need of being reminded when their fidels should pray. Feel free to correct me if my statement is erroneous.

  178. 273 Dee
    December 1, 2009 at 22:23

    Whilst working as a teacher, I saw a number things that made me question Islam and the ability of strict Muslims to integrate into western society. One was that of a Eastern European refugee family. Mother, grandmother and two young girls. The Mother and grandmother found the language difficult and found it difficult to intgrate. The daughters however soon took to school and made friends and integrated well. Took part in sports, including swimming and went on to further study and now have good jobs. On the other hand an Iranian family arrived, parents and 2 children, a boy and a girl. All was fine, the children made freinds and were able to play together and visit each others houses. That was until the girl reached puberty, when she was systematically cut off from everything, including swimming classes, which she had enjoyed with her friends. She was no longer allowed to visit her friends houses in case a male was present, all she had was school until she reached the age of 15 when she was removed from the school and sent back to Iran into a forced marriage. She became withdrawn and miserable, she knew her freedom was over. Her brother on the other hand continued to study and go on to University and a free life.

    Where is the UN human rights commisioner for cases like this. You want equality, you want Human rights then come to Switzerland and integrate and be free. The UN has no right to criticise one and not the other. The Swiss government has to stand up for freedom, the freedom of it’s own people and for those who want to come and live here as free people not shackled to a political ideology.

  179. 274 Mark from Zürich
    December 1, 2009 at 23:55

    Fazeela,

    That’s a very bad generalisation. First of all, visiting a country is very different from living in it which makes your point even less convincing. And you might want to meet more Swiss people before making an assumption. Unless perhaps you have another one of these anecdotes that you would like to share.

    And why are you talking about not allowing parades for religious purposes? It’s a NO to the construction of Minarets, not to Islam itself. Muslims are still allowed too go to the mosks that there are in Switzerland.

    And you yourself said that there’s a very small population of Muslims in Switzerland. Well there’s mosks here and 4 minarets, is that not enough? Why make more? Especially since a certain percentage of them don’t even practise their religion as you also pointed out yourself.

  180. 276 Henry
    December 2, 2009 at 01:48

    The Swiss have shown remakable restraint with only 57% voting for the ban, in the UK the figure would have been closer to 70% in favour.

  181. 277 cugel
    December 2, 2009 at 11:25

    Feminists were voting to ban minarets: considering the symbolic meaning of minarets a logical step.

  182. 278 cugel
    December 2, 2009 at 11:32

    Other faiths are not making their women a walking symbol for their faith. A religion that has displayed so much violence for instance in the conquering of India against the hindoes: women often rather killed themselves rather than fall in the hands of the Mughals. As i said: a religion that has shown so much violence shouldn’t be allowed to build symbols of their dominance in other countries than their own.

  183. 279 martin
    December 2, 2009 at 11:44

    Have my say? doesnt seem like it.Thats the third time now.I’m wondering if there is anything other than an innocent/practical reason for this.Guess I’ll find out one way or another.Just to say,I agree with the Swiss result.

  184. December 2, 2009 at 16:43

    At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand and refuse to concede any more of your national identity to other cultures. In the UK, our leaders don’t have the guts to do this, and wonder why we’re seen as a soft touch for minority cultures to move in, refuse to integrate, and then demand that we change to suit THEM! We can see the tensions all over our country, but the voice of the British people stays unheard. I applaud the Swiss for taking this stance. Integration only works when people actually integrate, not keep themselves separate with their own communities, places of worship, cultures and laws as they have done in the UK.

  185. 281 aisha from pakistan
    December 2, 2009 at 18:52

    The Swiss referendum and the subsequent comments that I have read on this Website reflect the intolerance that prevails in european countries, starting from Nazi Germany to today’s France and now Switzerland.

    As for non muslims being tolerant and muslims being an extremely intolerant nation, I’d invite all of you to come and visit Pakistan, my home country and experience the hospitality of its people, the love and respect that we have to offer to any “gora” from your side of the world. Most of you speak out of your ignorance and sheer lack of knowledge.

  186. 282 aisha from pakistan
    December 2, 2009 at 18:53

    contd…Just as we, majority of muslims, dont criticize all christians or jews for the indicriminate and unjustified bombing and invasion of Iraq by Bush or the massacre of Sabra and Shatila (specifically mentioned here) by Sharon or the massacre of the people of kosovo by Serbians, you have no right to condemn us for what some of those belonging to the same religion as ours do.

    As for shariah law being oppressive and all, go through the Quran, go through the teachings of Islam and you’ll be surprised to learn that last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) envisaged those basic laws of human rights, 1400 years ago, that are now present in the UN Charter and in numerous democracies around the world. Theocracy was a christian mode of governance, Hazrat Umar (one of teh four pious caliphs), practicing on the dictats of Islam, introduced the modern concept of democracy which the democracies of today follow.

    Your biggest flaw is your ignorance and I can only feel pity for you for being threatened by just a symbol.

  187. 283 Jane
    December 2, 2009 at 20:10

    I think it is outrageous that the Swiss voted for the ban on minaret. This would not be tolerated by our Supreme Court here in America regardless of the peblic sentiment. It is racist and contrary to our basic princible of separation of Church and state. I think Europe is experiencing a new influx of Muslims and is making the grave mistake of believing that all Muslims are terrorists. There is no excuse for the ban, most of all the comparison between the ban and Saudi Arabia ban crosses. They are no a democracy. They are an oppressive society. Do the Swiss want to start on that road?

    France is trying to ban Burkhas, the Danes alreaady have. Not so here in America. I find it horrible that women were Burkhas, but that is their choice. If it is not then they must make the changes themselves. Should that result in violence against those women, the the law can take care of that.

    All of the critism the US gets from Europeans supporting this kind of predujice just went out the window.

  188. 284 Josiah Soap
    December 2, 2009 at 21:00

    It appears that people outside the UK are primary posters on this website, whereas on the BBC news website posters are mainly from the UK. You notice a big difference. Here it’s split about 50:50. On the BBC news website overwhelmingly people agree with the Swiss decision. This says something, people in the UK are fed up with immigration, Islam and the lack of integration. The government will never give us a similar referendum because it would embarass them and show how out of touch they were. I bet there would be 80% in favour, the 20% opposed would be comprised of immigrants, politicians and PC lefties.

  189. 285 cugel
    December 3, 2009 at 06:07

    It is remarkable that articles about islam always get many more reactions than other articles. Not just here but also on a Dutch website as Geenstijl. So there is a problem here that many people feel strongly about and it would be wrong to ignore it.

  190. 286 cugel
    December 3, 2009 at 06:16

    Anyway, a religion is also a philosophy, a way of looking at the world. Something that informs action. So, just as people may reject fascism or communism a certain religion may be rejected. That is not discrimination because it is not about an unalterable trait that one is born with. As humanity we should come to a view of life that is acceptable. Certain cultural or religious practices, as the stoning of women in case of adultery (while the men are not punished, or in a lighter way) may be unacceptable.

  191. 287 asma from pakistan
    December 4, 2009 at 11:37

    We re normal human beings like anyone else, we send kids to school, go to offices, earn our livelihoods, celebrate and if anyone of us or our family members fell prey to terrorist acts, we’d condemn it as vehemntly as anyone else. But as long as we r are safe, we’d rather look at both sides than just one. We all saw 9’11 but we can see the destruction that was wrought in Aghanistan and Iraq and noq in Pakistan because of America’s hegemonic designs. Having been to America thrice, I personally appreciate the moral and social values that the American people hold dear. And I can see the difference between european sentiments and american sentiments on this forum too. But at the same time, how many of them actually condemn whatever their government is doing in their name all round the world.

  192. 288 A Malaysian
    December 6, 2009 at 17:59

    Its a fair decision since it’s polled and is what the Masses in Switzerland wants, likewise if I am a Christian in Middle East or any Islamic Country I will be subject to such kind of ruling on the other extreme.

    What is distressing to hear is that the Malaysian Government is calling for the review of the ban in Switzerland while in their/our own country – Christians are not allowed to use the word “Allah” for worshipping in Churches. Non English or Malay language speaking Christians use the word “Allah” to describe God. The Church in Malaysia is not allowed to use the word “Allah” as it is exclusive only to Muslims.

    Churches are not allowed to be constructed in Traditional “Church styled” building, it must be in shophouses or commercial lots While for every housing area, a Mosque must, a Muslim only prayer room(s) must be available in commercial, offices, factories, hotels, shopping centres, condominiums or other buildings for the facilities of the Muslim only while there are totally none for other religions. A Church can easilly take more than 10-20 years to be approved right up to construction.

    Stark disparity even though the Malaysian Government proudly proclaim religious freedom, such is subtle but pronounced oppression visible to some people of other faiths living in Malaysia.

  193. 289 John
    December 9, 2009 at 03:05

    Here’s what a famous former Muslim – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch parliamentarian who had to flee Holland because of the Muslims – has to say about this: Swiss ban on minarets was a vote for tolerance and inclusion

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

    RE: asma from pakistan

    Why not stick to the subject? Ban was on the minarets, not on Muslims.

    RE: aisha from pakistan

    Thinks there’s intolerance in Europe? How come Muslims are flocking in ever higher numbers towards Europe? As for Pakistan being tolerant towards Christians, don’t get me started. I’ve read news articles showing exactly the opposite – Christians being maimed and killed by Islamist mobs because of false rumors, they’re house being burned etc.

  194. 290 Syme
    February 9, 2010 at 03:31

    Food For thought, the sayings of Mahatma Gandhi
    ” In matters of conscience the law of majority has no place”

    If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.

    the true test of democracy is the way the majority treats its minority. Its now proven that swiss society is racist.


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