- Published on Monday, 14 December 2009 00:15
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1082
Minarets, religiously, are a small part of Islam, and are more a symbol of Islam's political supremacy. In reality, the ban is a backlash against Islam's unfettered liberty in violating religious freedom and human rights of others. Moreover, the ban may be the first opening to solving Islam's monumental problem with secular democracy.
But does the minaret ban constitute a violation of Muslims' religious freedom? If it is a violation, it is only a small one, as their freedom of worship, including the freedom to build mosques, is not tampered with. The Minaret, religiously, is not a major component of Islam.
An article in Hudson New York by M. A. Khan goes on to say: On the flipside, the Swiss ban may represent a backlash against the widespread Muslim violation of religious freedom -- even the right to life -- of non-Muslims.
While the world has engaged in the intense condemnation of the Swiss minaret ban as a violation of Muslims' religious freedom, hundreds, probably thousands, of non-Muslims across the Muslim world have been suffering intimidation and violence, even death, for simply being non-Muslim or trying to observe their religious rituals and rights in the most peaceful and submissive manner.
Over the past weeks, while the Swiss minaret ban hysteria was going on, a 3,000-strong hysterical Muslim mob engaged in rioting in Egypt, attacking Christians and their businesses -- a frequent occurrence. Additionally, Muslim extremists in Uganda attacked a Sunday church congregation, wounding many and damaging the church; Islamic radicals executed a Christian convert in Somalia; a Pakistani Christian had to go into hiding after Islamist demanded his conversion to Islam (or death); a man in Iran faces hanging for apostatizing to Christianity. Most alarmingly, a survey found 59% of Muslims in Turkey, the most secular and tolerant Islamic nation and an aspirant to E.U. membership, opposed open worship by non-Muslims.
Naïve and uneducated observers may find the Swiss ban on minarets a violation of religious rights of Muslims, but in reality, as demonstrated, the Swiss vote is a ban on a symbol of political power, disguised as an innocuous religious icon. It, therefore, does not, technically, violate any religious right of anyone, whatsoever.
Most of all, nations with their skylines riddled with giant and elegant minarets are also the lands of the most extreme violation of religious rights of non-Muslims, a trend which has been worsening fast.
As discussed elsewhere, Islamic minarets did not emerge at the birth of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad, who founded a puritanical and Spartan religious creed, fitting for the underdeveloped and poverty-stricken Bedouin Arab society, would undoubtedly have opposed the erection of sky-piercing elegant minarets; he disapproved of the construction of gorgeous buildings saying: "Truly the most unprofitable thing that eats the wealth of a believer is building," and "Every expense of the believer will be rewarded except the expense of the building."
Minarets are, in fact, a Christian icon, first introduced to mosques by the Godless Umayyad rulers a century after the beginning of Islam -- also in spite of strong condemnations by the pious for incorporating a Christian icon into Islamic houses of worship, and for building a structure higher than mosque-walls.
Since then, sky-piercing spear-like minarets gradually became what the renowned Turkish sociologist and nationalist poet, Ziya Gökalp, described in a poem as: "The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army..." Affirmation of this message by Tayyip Recep Erdogan, the current Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey, in a 1998 public gathering, earned him a short prison-term for inciting religious hatred.
Since then, 'bayonet-shaped' minarets started gracing skyline of the centers of Islamic power, conquered by the sword: Cairo, Spain, Damascus, Constantinople, Delhi and more. Since then, wherever Muslim holy warriors went with the aid of swords in pursuance of Jihad for global conquest, the first thing they did was to raise imposing mosques, fitted with elegant minarets, often on the site of destroyed temples or churches, and frequently using remains of the destroyed religious structures.
The Quwat-al-Islam (Might of Islam) Mosque and the Qutb Minaret in Delhi are ideal examples: their construction started in 1192, well ahead of the firm establishment of Islamic power, the Delhi Sultanate, in 1206, and that they were constructed from the remains of many Hindu temples destroyed in the area.
Once mosques with elegant minarets were erected, symbolizing the establishment of Islamic power, these structures became, as Gokalp perfectly described, the "bayonets" and "barracks" of Islam. They became Islamic powerhouses from where ruthless and unflinching Jihad was unleashed against the non-Muslim peoples of surrounding territories, causing untold human suffering, death and destruction. Notably, Islamic Jihad claimed the lives of estimated 270 million people, 60-80 million in India. This would substantiate the thesis of Gokalp/Erdogan and the Swiss voters that Islamic minarets are, fundamentally, a symbol of Islam's political power. Moreover, it carries a history of extreme violence and oppression.
But, that is history; just ask the pagans (not extant anymore) and Jews of Europe: Churches, with their minarets, were symbols and centers of no less brutality and oppression throughout the Middle Ages. Today, however, churches mostly represent apolitical and spiritual 'houses of worship;' secular societies can live with them, fitted with minarets or not, in near-perfect harmony.
Furthermore, non-Christian communities in the lands of churches, as in the West, can exercise their religious freedom with unrestrained liberty, although Muslims have come under increasing suspicion, and even some restrictions, but only in recent years, thanks mostly, if not exclusively, to the Muslims' own making.
Can the same be said of the lands of Islamic minarets?