The Islamic call for prayers – the Azan – is one of Islam’s most iconic rituals.
Years ago members of the clergy would climb the minarets and spread the word by shouting, this was of course before they were replaced by tape recorders and loudspeakers. The minarets thus still perform their function, and has become a subject of debate in societies where Muslims are a minority.
On Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a proposal to ban the construction of minarets across the country. The idea is backed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, the largest in parliament, and by conservative Christian groups, who claim that minarets would be the first sign of the Islamisation of Switzerland. The country’s four hundred thousand Muslims say that permitting more minarets would be a welcome sign that their faith is accepted.
Do mosques really need minarets in modern western societies with other more efficient means of communication? Do you think the construction of minarets on mosques has ‘islamised’ your country?