- Published on Sunday, 29 November 2009 11:34
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2356
Swiss election returns show voters have approved an initiative banning construction of new minarets attached to mosques. The Swiss news agency ATS says the controversial measure was backed by 57 percent of the electorate, with all but one jurisdiction counted. Voter turnout was about 55 percent.
Opinion polls ahead of the vote predicted the ban would be rejected by 53 percent of voters. Switzerland, a country of seven million, is home to more than 300,000 Muslims, mainly from Turkey and the Balkans.
The initiative for the referendum came from the rightwing Swiss People's Party who gathered the required 100,000 signatures to hold a referendum. It was opposed by the government and the Council of Religions and was said to be contrary to the Swiss Constitution.
The campaign in favour of the ban suggested that this was the beginning of a Muslim push for Islamic values such as covering women's faces and male domination. The opposition was based on freedom of religion.
While everyone in the Western world favours freedom of thought, speech and religion, this is not the case in Islamic countries. Muslims also are really strong in their drive to convert everyone and that all other religions (and atheism) should be crushed. They don't stop at thinking - they put it into action. Such values do not belong in any democratic, free country.
ITN (UK), had produced the following news video before the voting was completed. It is a good summary of the overall issue.
The vote has been watched by the Muslim world and the result will not be well-received. Some are predicting a reaction similar to the outrage over the free-speech by the Dutch cartoonist. The whole Swiss economy could be impacted by rich Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia boycotting Swiss products and services. But you have to give the Swiss people high marks for finally telling it like it is. Banning minarets is telling the Muslims that they need to adopt Swiss values if they want to live in Switzerland. If Muslim countries truly reciprocated and stopped killing apostates and stopped repressing women and stopped treating non-Muslims like scum, then maybe there would be a reason to criticize the Swiss. But as it is, the Swiss are showing world leadership.
Source: Swiss Government
Update, Nov 30, 2009
1. Additional comment:
Many are pointing out that the vote was not just against minarets - that's right, it was about Muslim values overwhelming Western values. A minaret in your neighbourhood says that there are poeple who live there who do not value women, who control and suppress them. It says that there are people there who believe in killing anyone who converts to another religion - they may refrain because it's agianst the law, but athiests and christians don't believe these things in the first place. And I don't care if they believe because of their religion. Any beliefs like this are unacceptable. And it may be a minority of them who act on it - but their official teaching and their holy book say that they should believe these things. So that is what their imams, their teachers, the sermons they hear are all telling them constantly. It's time to face up to reality. They should either give up their ancient, out of date, barbaric religion - or at least renounce the inhuman parts - or they should go live somewhere else.
The second thing that some muslims are saying (quotes in the street by TV news) is that "we are tolerant of Christians, why are they not tolerant of us?" Bullshit. They are not tolerant of anyone who is not Muslim.
2. Other reports
Reaction in Europe to the ban has been swift and mostly negative. The Muslim world is slower to react but is also negative. See the Times on-line for a report on the reaction.
More reports about the Muslim reaction - see the Wall Street Journal.
An extract from their report:
Political and religious leaders of Muslim countries were quick to condemn the vote. Maskuri Abdillah, head of Indonesia's biggest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, said the vote reflected "a hatred of Swiss people against Muslim communities."
Egypt's top cleric called the referendum an "insult" to Muslims, while the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the biggest Muslim group with 57 member states, called the vote a "recent example of growing anti-Islamic incitements in Europe by extremist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist, scare-mongering ultra-right politicians who reign over common sense, wisdom and universal values."
"It is a bad answer to a bad question," Babacar Ba, the Geneva ambassador of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference told Swiss journalists Monday. "I fear that this kind of thing is simply a gift to extremism and intolerance."
Update Dec 2, 2009
The Calgary Herald reports the following raection:
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency.
It's an expression of quite a bit of prejudice and maybe even fear - It is clear that it is a negative signal in every way, there's no doubt about it,
Bernard Kouchner, foreign minister of France
I am a bit shocked by this decision - It is an expression of intolerance. I hope the Swiss will reverse this decision quickly.
Lawmakers at the Council of Europe, a 47-member human rights watchdog that Switzerland currently chairs:
Although it expresses the popular will, the decision to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is a source of profound concern - The result of this referendum goes against the values of tolerance, dialogue and respect for other peoples beliefs
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Christoph Steegmans
Declined to comment on the result, telling AFP that Berlin was not "going to give advice to Switzerland ......freedom of religion is as important in Switzerland as it is here."
Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders,
Called the result "wonderful" and asked for a similar referendum to be held in the Netherlands. "What is possible in Switzerland should be possible here,"
Austrian Interior Minister
Maria Fekter said the government would "look at" the Swiss ban, but stressed that "freedom of religion is anchored in the (Austrian) constitution."
Pakistan attacked the referendum as "extreme Islamophobia."
This development reflects extreme Islamophobia among people in the West," said Khurshid Ahmad, vice president of Jamaat-e-Islami, a hardline Islamic political party in Pakistan's parliament.
Maskuri Abdillah, head of Indonesia's biggest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, said that the vote reflected "a hatred of Swiss people against Muslim communities".
Mufti Ali Gomaa, the Egyptian government's official interpreter of Islamic law, denounced the minaret ban as an "insult" to Muslims across the world and "an attack on freedom of beliefs."
July 18, 2011
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected two appeals against a ban on the construction of new minarets in Switzerland. The appeals were launched in 2009 when the Swiss voted to include the ban in their constitution.
Judges ruled that the plaintiffs - three Muslim organisations and a private citizen - were not victims of an alleged human rights violation. The Strasbourg-based court on Friday announced that the complaints by the applicants were not admissible.
"The main complaint was that a disputed constitutional provision offended their religious beliefs. However, they did not allege that it had had any practical effect on them," the statement said.
The applicants could not prove either that they were indirect victims because none of them was planning on building a mosque with a minaret in Switzerland in the near future, it added.
The appeals were lodged in December 2009 following approval of a controversial initiative in a nationwide vote.
A total of six complaints were filed - three of which are still pending.
Burqa to be banned in Switzerland
Sept 28, 2011
Swiss MPs have approved a move to impose a ban on the burqa or other face coverings in some public places, including on public transport. The lower chamber of the house approved the motion on Sept 28, 2011 by 101 votes to 77. The draft bill will still have to be examined by the upper chamber.
Put forward by Oskar Freysinger, a politician who campaigned to ban the Minarets, the motion requires "anyone addressing a federal, cantonal or communal authority exercising his or her functions, to present themselves with their faces uncovered." Burqas would also be banned on public transport, while "authorities can ban or restrict access to public buildings to such individuals in order to guarantee the security of other users."
Explaining the motion, Freysinger noted that "at a time when insecurity is growing in our streets, more and more people are hiding their faces behind a balaclava, a mask or a burqa. "This makes it impossible to identify these people, a fact that is particularly troublesome in case of violence or identity checks," he noted.