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In the Name of God بسم الله

Switzerland votes on Muslim minaret ban

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sayedzeeshan

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http://news.bbc.co.u...ope/8384835.stm

Swiss voters are going to the polls to decide on a proposal to ban the building of minarets in their country.

The proposal is backed by the Swiss People's Party, the largest party in parliament, and by Christian groups.

They say minarets would be the first sign of the Islamisation of Switzerland.

The Swiss government is urging voters to reject a ban. There are 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, and just four minarets across the country.

Islam is the most widespread religion after Christianity, but it remains relatively hidden.

There are unofficial Muslim prayer rooms, and planning for new minarets is almost always refused.

The proposal is for a one-line addition to the Swiss constitution, stating that the construction of minarets is forbidden.

Supporters of a ban claim allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

o.gifstart_quote_rb.gifI have a real problem with Islam, with the Islamic law, with the political and legal aspect of this religion end_quote_rb.gif<br clear="all"> Oskar Freysinger

Swiss member of parliament inline_dashed_line.gif

Pointed argument Opinion polls ahead of the vote are close, with signs that a small majority would reject the ban.

That would be a relief to the Swiss government which fears banning minarets would cause unrest among the Muslim community, and damage Switzerland's relations with Islamic countries.

Amnesty International has warned that the ban would violate Switzerland's obligations to freedom of religious expression.

Swiss Muslim Elham Manea points to the recent construction of Sikh temples and Serbian Orthodox churches and says a ban just on minarets is discriminatory.

"If you are telling me that we are going to ban all religious symbols from all religious buildings, I would not have a problem with that.

"But if you are just telling me that we are going to target only the Muslims, not the Christians, not the Jews, not the Sikhs, only the Muslims, then I have a problem with it because it is discrimination."

Muslim respect

Most of Switzerland's Muslims come from former Yugoslavia, and there is no history of Islamic extremism, but supporters of a ban say minarets are far more than religious architecture.

They claim allowing them would be a sign that Islamic law is accepted in Switzerland.

Member of parliament Oskar Freysinger rejects the charge of discrimination.

"The Muslims as normal human beings are worth my respect - it is not a problem.

"I have a real problem with Islam, with the Islamic law, with the political and legal aspect of this religion."

In recent years many countries in Europe have been debating their relationship with Islam, and how best to integrate their Muslim populations.

France focused on the headscarf; in Germany there was controversy over plans to build one of Europe's largest mosques in Cologne.

What kind of pathetic losers can't differenciate between minarets, an architectural design, and extremist interpretations of Islam.

Don't you think its AlQaeda-kind of extreme?

Edited by sayedzeeshan
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What a wonderful development, and what a wonderful opportunity. There's little inherently Islamic about minarets; they were introduced as an architectural feature several centuries after Muhammad and in many parts of the world, as Islam spread, the shape and appearance of mosques showed a nice tendency of trying to fit into the architecture of the local area. Swiss Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, must strive for similar feats of architectural synthesis. It sends a powerful and positive subliminal message that Islam is compatible with the people there. It makes the religion more attractive and welcoming without sacrificing anything. Win win. One of the beauties of constraints of form in art is that it drives the artist to be creative in expressing him/herself despite the restrictions.

Hang on brother you have got be joking.

Wonderful opportunity?

Strive for synthesis?

POSITIVE SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE OF ISLAM?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are making the religion more attractive????

i have attached from the campaign in switzerland to ban the minerets. It resembles the propaganda by the Nazis in the holocaust.

The pictures show minarets looking like missiles, that pierce and impale the swiss flag. And on the side a woman in a burka made to have dark and slit eyes looking menacing and evil. It is cultivating hate, racism, and anti-islamic sentiment.

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Edited by yahossein
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What a wonderful development, and what a wonderful opportunity. There's little inherently Islamic about minarets; they were introduced as an architectural feature several centuries after Muhammad and in many parts of the world, as Islam spread, the shape and appearance of mosques showed a nice tendency of trying to fit into the architecture of the local area. Swiss Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, must strive for similar feats of architectural synthesis. It sends a powerful and positive subliminal message that Islam is compatible with the people there. It makes the religion more attractive and welcoming without sacrificing anything. Win win. One of the beauties of constraints of form in art is that it drives the artist to be creative in expressing him/herself despite the restrictions.

Assimilation is a good thing but what has it to do with the current issue of coupling a form of architecture with extremist interpretations of Islam? I mean come on, its just a piece made up of bricks and mortar, why such a paranoia?

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I think Kadhim is correct when he says that minarets are a "biddah" (innovation). As such, pure Muslims should not be too worried about it. However, West's phobia for Islamic things is really getting out of hand. Perhaps it's because they think that its their land and only theirs while the "other races" or "other people" or people of different ideals are there only as guests. Or atleast thats what a FBI agent told to a Mexican (or was it Italian) in a movie I saw. :P

Personally, it amazes me to think that if you know that your kind is hated in a place you keep on living there and also complain of it. Ah, the woes of pursuing better quality of living and attractive salaries (money). I guess it comes with the package deal. And its the fate of Muslims in this world to be tested thoroughly with all kinds of oppression. This is why Quran tells us that non-Muslims can never be your friends unless you give up your religion. And non-Muslims are not just in the west, neither does having a Islamic name make someone a Muslim. I know Muslims who had oppressive husbands / wives / brothers / parents / bosses but they kept tolerating patiently. If you're faithful to God you'll often be oppressed, period. Our messengers, Imams and saints faced greatest oppressions all through their lives with pure patience. But men of God always know that this life is a temporary stay so they think nothing of it.

As for Al-Qaeda / Taliban, they are ruthless mass murderers and agents of the same party. So thats why I say that there never has been a battle between good and evil for a long time. It's always evil vs. evil or false flag cunning drama or whatever while its casualties are always innocent lives ruined by the millions. To be honest, its not our fight although we're being affected by it alongwith all the peaceful people in the world. Now people should be able to see why Britain created Saudia and why Saudia created Wahabism and why America protects Saudia and they all protect Israel. Mutual benefit.

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What a wonderful development, and what a wonderful opportunity. There's little inherently Islamic about minarets; they were introduced as an architectural feature several centuries after Muhammad and in many parts of the world, as Islam spread, the shape and appearance of mosques showed a nice tendency of trying to fit into the architecture of the local area. Swiss Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, must strive for similar feats of architectural synthesis. It sends a powerful and positive subliminal message that Islam is compatible with the people there. It makes the religion more attractive and welcoming without sacrificing anything. Win win. One of the beauties of constraints of form in art is that it drives the artist to be creative in expressing him/herself despite the restrictions.

I believe that religion should not take away from the quality of other peoples lives, so if they had loud adhaan every morning for fajr I could understand why the Swiss government would feel compelled to pass a law or allow a vote to forbid that. I don't want anyone's religious beliefs to inconvenience me in that manner, so Muslims should not expect their religious beliefs to be above scrutiny. There should be an obvious benefit to laws.

But the minaret on the mosque does nothing to take from their quality of life and the only purpose of this law seems to be a barely concealed Islamaphobia in a country with a growing Muslim population. The minarets do not do any harm except remind people in that country that Muslims exist, just like a hijab would, and I see a problem with being so nonchalant about this very obvious attempt at suppression. I can't see anything too ominous about 4 minarets in a country with 400,000 Muslim citizens. This is not being peddled in the name of unity, it is being pushed by Christian groups who are not concerned with making Islam more welcoming and compatible. The intentions are not nearly as benign as we are painting them.

Edit: The government should stay the hell out of peoples mosques and churches unless they are disturbing the lives of the citizens.. in EVERY instance.

Edited by Zahratul_Islam
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The Swiss voters who voted for this ban and the party that proposed it are xenophobic and islamophobic, plain and simple. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a precursor to a victory for the Swiss People's party in the next elections, who are racist, islamophobic and xenophobic enough to actually kick Muslims out. Despite the current government's opposition to this ban, next time the west has an issue with how Muslim countries operate, Switzerland won't have a leg to stand on since they're not any better.

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What a wonderful development, and what a wonderful opportunity. There's little inherently Islamic about minarets; they were introduced as an architectural feature several centuries after Muhammad and in many parts of the world, as Islam spread, the shape and appearance of mosques showed a nice tendency of trying to fit into the architecture of the local area. Swiss Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, must strive for similar feats of architectural synthesis. It sends a powerful and positive subliminal message that Islam is compatible with the people there. It makes the religion more attractive and welcoming without sacrificing anything. Win win. One of the beauties of constraints of form in art is that it drives the artist to be creative in expressing him/herself despite the restrictions.

You've got to be kidding me.

You think the Swiss government or Swiss people will be any more tolerant towards the "similar feats of architectural synthesis"? It's not the buildings they are fearful or insensitive towards, it's the people inside.

Why stop at buildings? Why don't immigrant Muslims in Western lands dye their hair blonde, change their names, change their accents, change their food preferences? Wouldn't all that work towards making our religion "more attractive"?

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loud adhaan

Another innovation (biddah). Using the most powerful electronic loud speakers that are literally deafeningly loud for the immediate neighbors of a mosque. Imagine the agony of those people. Children waking up, can't try to converse or hear anything else (personal experience). I shudder to imagine what happens to those people on fridays when the mullah takes his time, gives a fiery speech, and goes on for all afternoon.

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^ I believe minarets are a biddah, unless someone can kindly prove us/correct us otherwise. So are powerful electronic speakers that become an inconvenience for the neighbors. However, for the latter, I understand its out of necessity because these days people live in modern solidly constructed brick / concrete houses in my country atleast. But still, anyone who's looking forward for praying in a mosque should be able to know the time for it to arrive at the mosque even if they can't hear it. There are like 7 or 8 mosques here nearby and those in earshot take turns and let the first one finish while others don't, and then you can hear lots of unclear adhaans all at once and the adhaans keep going for like 20 minutes because some are letting others finish. Even in Ramadhan, adhans for fajr keep going on for 10 minutes.

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The discussion over minarets is another issue in itself, and should be discussed separately.

However, one thing is for sure: the Swiss groups advocating the banning of them could care less if they are biddah or not (if they even know what that means). That's the nature of Islamophobia, which is usually fear of all things Islamic and things that "look Islamic". It's all based on ignorance. Their hearts are sealed.

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Assimilation is a good thing but what has it to do with the current issue of coupling a form of architecture with extremist interpretations of Islam? I mean come on, its just a piece made up of bricks and mortar, why such a paranoia?

I trust from the reaction here that I'll never read any threads here complaining about MacDonalds and KFC within 5 minutes of the haram in Mecca. The outcries of "cultual imperialism" are clearly just overreactions borne out of Arab xenophobia. After all, MacDonalds and KFC are just buildings where they serve KFC, and the MacDo sign is just a glowing neon M, right?

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^ I believe minarets are a biddah, unless someone can kindly prove us/correct us otherwise. So are powerful electronic speakers that become an inconvenience for the neighbors. However, for the latter, I understand its out of necessity because these days people live in modern solidly constructed brick / concrete houses in my country atleast. But still, anyone who's looking forward for praying in a mosque should be able to know the time for it to arrive at the mosque even if they can't hear it. There are like 7 or 8 mosques here nearby and those in earshot take turns and let the first one finish while others don't, and then you can hear lots of unclear adhaans all at once and the adhaans keep going for like 20 minutes because some are letting others finish. Even in Ramadhan, adhans for fajr keep going on for 10 minutes.

Yeah, but you quoted 'loud adhaan' and not 'minaret'. You also went on about microphones. Adhaan is a call for prayer, so the idea there is that it should be heard. However, in a western, non-Islamic country, this would be inconsiderate. Simple as that. It has nothing to do with bid'ah. Anyways, as Mahdaviat pointed out, the issue isn't about this.

Edited by Shia & Proud
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I trust from the reaction here that I'll never read any threads here complaining about MacDonalds and KFC within 5 minutes of the haram in Mecca. The outcries of "cultual imperialism" are clearly just overreactions borne out of Arab xenophobia. After all, MacDonalds and KFC are just buildings where they serve KFC, and the MacDo sign is just a glowing neon M, right?

If Saudi Arabia has passed a law forbidding MacDonalds near the haram (something I was unaware of) that does not make it legitimate for Switzerland (a country that is not theocratic or abusive) to forbid Muslims from having a minaret on their mesjid that harms no one? Maybe I am not understanding the analogy? The only similarity I see is

Crazy extremist Muslims are scared of KFC..

Crazy fundementalist Christians are scared of minarets?

Sane, rational people call out the crazies and tell them that their points are not valid or acceptable and have no basis no matter what religion they are attempting to suppress.

It isn't about religion here..If you hear about the government forbidding a cross on a church you will get complaints from me because I believe that the government should stay out of our mosques and churches unless we infringe on the rights of others, which was not the case here.

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It's for the Swiss to decide what their country should look like. Just as iranians should be free to decide theirs and Saudis theirs. The skyline of a country is the "public space".

There is however, a conundrum at the heart of the Swiss position. They want to be able to export their industrial manufactures and consumer goods around the world, with US$16bn worth sold to Muslim countries.

In order to do this their consumer goods manufacturers engage in advertising campaigns in Muslim countries that most definitely try and promote specific behaviours, a set of beliefs and cultural values. So the Swiss do have a presence in the public space in Muslim countries.

Are people who complain about Swiss actions hypocritical when they also complain about McDonalds in Mecca? The McDonalds in Mecca is selling to Muslims, the minaret in Switzerland is not trying to promote itself to Christians and atheists. The correct example would be Muslim hypocrisy in banning Christian places of worship in Mecca. IMHO where the latter has happened, it's wrong and I don't think many on this board would disagree.

But I'd also go on to argue that little happens in Saudi without the permission of the Americans and they've been happy to allow repression of minorities (incl. Christians) under the wider goal of controlling the population to make sure nothing gets in the way of oil production.

Edited by Haji 2003
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it's their country. if they don't want minarets the muslims there can adopt to it or go somplace else. I don't see the big deal

Religion does not define citizenship. Unless being non Muslim is a prerequisite for citizenship in Switzerland, your statement is ridiculous.

I am a Muslim American who was born and raised in the United States and when someone tries to take away my rights as a citizen of the United States I will not stand for it, nor will I stand for someone describing me as "the other" group in "their country."

Edited by Zahratul_Islam
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bosnia started with a little this and a little that then ended in neighbours killing muslims.......and worse

where would be a good place to go if you were born in the west and converted i wonder? is there any country that invites converts to live in safety? what a mess. death and discrimination is around every corner.

Edited by Mohammed-W
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]Zahratul_Islam -this is happening in switzerland not the us. the us bill of rights doens't apply to swiss muslims.

You said

it's their country. if they don't want minarets the muslims there can adopt to it or go somplace else. I don't see the big deal

Unless being Muslim in Switzerland takes away your citizenship, they are citizens of that country as well.

Your statements show a profound lack of knowledge about their government.. I used the bill of rights because I am American, but they have a bill of rights that also prevents religious discrimination. :unsure:

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lol @ poster

if u can paint the eyes black of the hijabi and put ''nin'' in front of ja, it would be more lol

but ehhm, yeah, distasteful, but that's the thing about living in parts of europe nowadays, you have to deal with discrimination against muslims

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What a wonderful development, and what a wonderful opportunity. There's little inherently Islamic about minarets; they were introduced as an architectural feature several centuries after Muhammad and in many parts of the world, as Islam spread, the shape and appearance of mosques showed a nice tendency of trying to fit into the architecture of the local area. Swiss Muslims, and Western Muslims in general, must strive for similar feats of architectural synthesis. It sends a powerful and positive subliminal message that Islam is compatible with the people there. It makes the religion more attractive and welcoming without sacrificing anything. Win win. One of the beauties of constraints of form in art is that it drives the artist to be creative in expressing him/herself despite the restrictions.

this is true for art expression and all that flowery stuff.

do you think this wonderful opportunity to express synthesis is leading to severe discrimination or anything scary like that?

actually it would be quite comforting to believe what you say.

maybe if you have the time you could address the fears expressed,and why they are baseless.

not one by one but generally.

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If Saudi Arabia has passed a law forbidding MacDonalds near the haram (something I was unaware of) that does not make it legitimate for Switzerland (a country that is not theocratic or abusive) to forbid Muslims from having a minaret on their mesjid that harms no one? Maybe I am not understanding the analogy? The only similarity I see is

Crazy extremist Muslims are scared of KFC..

Crazy fundementalist Christians are scared of minarets?

Sane, rational people call out the crazies and tell them that their points are not valid or acceptable and have no basis no matter what religion they are attempting to suppress.

It isn't about religion here..If you hear about the government forbidding a cross on a church you will get complaints from me because I believe that the government should stay out of our mosques and churches unless we infringe on the rights of others, which was not the case here.

The analogy is this:

A lot of Muslims get upset, arguably rightly so, at seeing American fast food joints in Mecca mere minutes from the haraam al-sharif. There is a certain intangible "feel" to Mecca that Muslims feel is somehow violated by these restaurants being built there. They feel like this place that is sacred to them is being "invaded" culturally by a foreign culture of globalized consumerism. From the standpoint of bare objectivity, it seems rather silly. After all, on the face of it, it's just a place to buy something that can technically be called food, and even pilgrims need food, so what's the big deal, right? But from the standpoint of a lot of Muslim purists, it is a sort of affront. It is something that doesn't quite fit in with the spirit of the place. Indeed, it jars. It's as much emotional as rational, but the response is genuine and comes from somewhere legitimate.

The Swiss have a culture theyt have built up over a period of centuries. There is a distinctive local "feel" to Switzerland that people who have lived there for a long time treasure and feel protective over. Architecture is part of it; there are a lot of other things. It is this sort of local feel that tourists fly from the other side of the world to experience. If someone comes in from outside, they need to have some consideration for that. Is it completely rational? No. Four minarets and a few hundred thousand Muslims are not a serious threat to Swiss culture. And the minarets are to a large extent a symbol of deeper discontents. But the fact of the matter is that these feelings are a reality in Switzerland. This referendum passed handily. For Swiss Muslims who are serious about making a life and future in Switzerland, the reality of this discomfort on the part of the native Swiss (and the same argument applies to native Brits, French, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, Dutch, Belgians, etc) is a reality Muslims there have to come to terms with and deal with. It's not going to disappear by calling the people bigots or xenophobes. In fact, that will probably just make it worse.

Does some of this fear on the part of native Europeans come from ignorance? Certainly. And so to some extent the solution will lie in these Europeans repairing this ignorance. But do we really do our share in making ourselves known? No, we don't. We have our mosques, keep to ourselves, shut the doors of the mosques and speak foreign languages inside them instead of the languages of the countries we're living in, so that even the adventurous European who works up the courage to come in through the doors will be left bewildered wondering what is being talked about. There is a lot that we can do to help allay these fears of the native Europeans, simple things. Understanding that minarets and niqab are simply not going to fit in in modern Europe and forgoing them is one of the ways to do this. Opening up mosues and running their programs in European languages is another.

Developing a taste for fine chocolates, fondue, good cheeses, and skiing wouldn't hurt either. I'm sure they'll understand if we forgo Scnapps on religious grounds.

To reply to a few who asked if I was joking: Partly yes but mostly no. I was being deliberately provocative, but mostly the spirit of it was sincere. Kvetching about Europeans being afraid of Islam is not going to accomplish anything. Doing what we can to understand the roots of that fear and take what steps are within our control and don't involve a compromise of core values and educate and make connections with Europeans will accomplish something. In the choice between the easy, yet useless, and the difficult, yet useful, I choose the latter.

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this is true for art expression and all that flowery stuff.

do you think this wonderful opportunity to express synthesis is leading to severe discrimination or anything scary like that?

actually it would be quite comforting to believe what you say.

maybe if you have the time you could address the fears expressed,and why they are baseless.

not one by one but generally.

The attitudes of the Europeans are not entirely rational, but they do not spring entirely out of nowhere either. We Muslims as a collective are not completely responsible for these attitudes, but are not completely innocent either. What happens down the road is not guaranteed, regardless of how much we strive to present ourselves in a way that allays their fears. But it certainly doesn't hurt to make the effort to "fit in." We do our part and the rest is up to them. But we are far, far from the point where we can honestly say we've done our part enabling us to throw our hands up and demonize the xenophobic Europeans.

Edited by kadhim
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The analogy is this:

A lot of Muslims get upset, arguably rightly so, at seeing American fast food joints in Mecca mere minutes from the haraam al-sharif. There is a certain intangible "feel" to Mecca that Muslims feel is somehow violated by these restaurants being built there. They feel like this place that is sacred to them is being "invaded" culturally by a foreign culture of globalized consumerism. From the standpoint of bare objectivity, it seems rather silly. After all, on the face of it, it's just a place to buy something that can technically be called food, and even pilgrims need food, so what's the big deal, right? But from the standpoint of a lot of Muslim purists, it is a sort of affront. It is something that doesn't quite fit in with the spirit of the place. Indeed, it jars. It's as much emotional as rational, but the response is genuine and comes from somewhere legitimate.

The Swiss have a culture theyt have built up over a period of centuries. There is a distinctive local "feel" to Switzerland that people who have lived there for a long time treasure and feel protective over. Architecture is part of it; there are a lot of other things. It is this sort of local feel that tourists fly from the other side of the world to experience. If someone comes in from outside, they need to have some consideration for that. Is it completely rational? No. Four minarets and a few hundred thousand Muslims are not a serious threat to Swiss culture. And the minarets are to a large extent a symbol of deeper discontents. But the fact of the matter is that these feelings are a reality in Switzerland. This referendum passed handily. For Swiss Muslims who are serious about making a life and future in Switzerland, the reality of this discomfort on the part of the native Swiss (and the same argument applies to native Brits, French, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, Dutch, Belgians, etc) is a reality Muslims there have to come to terms with and deal with. It's not going to disappear by calling the people bigots or xenophobes. In fact, that will probably just make it worse.

Does some of this fear on the part of native Europeans come from ignorance? Certainly. And so to some extent the solution will lie in these Europeans repairing this ignorance. But do we really do our share in making ourselves known? No, we don't. We have our mosques, keep to ourselves, shut the doors of the mosques and speak foreign languages inside them instead of the languages of the countries we're living in, so that even the adventurous European who works up the courage to come in through the doors will be left bewildered wondering what is being talked about. There is a lot that we can do to help allay these fears of the native Europeans, simple things. Understanding that minarets and niqab are simply not going to fit in in modern Europe and forgoing them is one of the ways to do this. Opening up mosues and running their programs in European languages is another.

Developing a taste for fine chocolates, fondue, good cheeses, and skiing wouldn't hurt either. I'm sure they'll understand if we forgo Scnapps on religious grounds.

To reply to a few who asked if I was joking: Partly yes but mostly no. I was being deliberately provocative, but mostly the spirit of it was sincere. Kvetching about Europeans being afraid of Islam is not going to accomplish anything. Doing what we can to understand the roots of that fear and take what steps are within our control and don't involve a compromise of core values and educate and make connections with Europeans will accomplish something. In the choice between the easy, yet useless, and the difficult, yet useful, I choose the latter.

do you think the imagery used was

a)ignorant?

Or

b sinister and particular with consultation of psychologists and other experts to elicit a negative response that supercedes simple fearful ignorance.

......( which can be attributed to the population but is a far stretch to claim the political parties are naive and fearful) in my opinion. what do you say?

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On a side note, Switzerland has close relations with the Vatican and, naturally, the Jews. Through Swiss banks, the Vatican and the Jews ate up the largest chunk of the loots of WWII, aka "nazi gold" in the name of "safe keeping". But anyway, this minaret issue is different than the face veil / head scarf thing the Frenchies pulled, so let's not get carried away too much, that's all I'm saying. If minarets aren't actually Islamic, what's all the fuss about, especially on a Shia forum? If the Swiss also tell the Muslims to not say "as-salatu khairum-min-an-naum", somehow, they would only be doing Islam a favor even if unknowingly. Ghenghis Khan did Islam a favor unknowingly by destroying all those hypocrites and bigotted Arabs. The minarets and the moon shaped symbol on top of them have no basis in Islam, or have they? There are so many things that are irrelevant, but we have mentally stooped to the level that they wanted us to. We're worried about "cosmetic Islam" not its spirit these days. We're not worried about our countries getting occupied and no threads are made anymore about the hundreds and thousands of innocent humans who die each day to satanists.

Conversion to Salafism and Islam boomed after 911, amusingly. If they treat discriminatingly our religion alone, we would only get even more attention. If we start to get upset for baseless, unimportant and superstitious stuff like minarets, moon symbols, etc., it'll only greatly support their myths they have created about us and their own occult theories.

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The attitudes of the Europeans are not entirely rational, but they do not spring entirely out of nowhere either. We Muslims as a collective are not completely responsible for these attitudes, but are not completely innocent either. What happens down the road is not guaranteed, regardless of how much we strive to present ourselves in a way that allays their fears. But it certainly doesn't hurt to make the effort to "fit in." We do our part and the rest is up to them. But we are far, far from the point where we can honestly say we've done our part enabling us to throw our hands up in the day and demonize the xenophobic Europeans.

I would only add that the population today are not one and the same as the politicians and the details of european history.

so pleasing and synthesis with the governments has to be gauged out to see if it is truly a good idea or a lose lose situation

so my saying is yes to population and no to the lawmakers ideally from a safe distance (out of their countries)

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The analogy is this:

A lot of Muslims get upset, arguably rightly so, at seeing American fast food joints in Mecca mere minutes from the haraam al-sharif. There is a certain intangible "feel" to Mecca that Muslims feel is somehow violated by these restaurants being built there. They feel like this place that is sacred to them is being "invaded" culturally by a foreign culture of globalized consumerism. From the standpoint of bare objectivity, it seems rather silly. After all, on the face of it, it's just a place to buy something that can technically be called food, and even pilgrims need food, so what's the big deal, right? But from the standpoint of a lot of Muslim purists, it is a sort of affront. It is something that doesn't quite fit in with the spirit of the place. Indeed, it jars. It's as much emotional as rational, but the response is genuine and comes from somewhere legitimate.

The Swiss have a culture theyt have built up over a period of centuries. There is a distinctive local "feel" to Switzerland that people who have lived there for a long time treasure and feel protective over. Architecture is part of it; there are a lot of other things. It is this sort of local feel that tourists fly from the other side of the world to experience. If someone comes in from outside, they need to have some consideration for that. Is it completely rational? No. Four minarets and a few hundred thousand Muslims are not a serious threat to Swiss culture. And the minarets are to a large extent a symbol of deeper discontents. But the fact of the matter is that these feelings are a reality in Switzerland. This referendum passed handily. For Swiss Muslims who are serious about making a life and future in Switzerland, the reality of this discomfort on the part of the native Swiss (and the same argument applies to native Brits, French, Germans, Scandinavians, Italians, Dutch, Belgians, etc) is a reality Muslims there have to come to terms with and deal with. It's not going to disappear by calling the people bigots or xenophobes. In fact, that will probably just make it worse.

Does some of this fear on the part of native Europeans come from ignorance? Certainly. And so to some extent the solution will lie in these Europeans repairing this ignorance. But do we really do our share in making ourselves known? No, we don't. We have our mosques, keep to ourselves, shut the doors of the mosques and speak foreign languages inside them instead of the languages of the countries we're living in, so that even the adventurous European who works up the courage to come in through the doors will be left bewildered wondering what is being talked about. There is a lot that we can do to help allay these fears of the native Europeans, simple things. Understanding that minarets and niqab are simply not going to fit in in modern Europe and forgoing them is one of the ways to do this. Opening up mosues and running their programs in European languages is another.

Developing a taste for fine chocolates, fondue, good cheeses, and skiing wouldn't hurt either. I'm sure they'll understand if we forgo Scnapps on religious grounds.

To reply to a few who asked if I was joking: Partly yes but mostly no. I was being deliberately provocative, but mostly the spirit of it was sincere. Kvetching about Europeans being afraid of Islam is not going to accomplish anything. Doing what we can to understand the roots of that fear and take what steps are within our control and don't involve a compromise of core values and educate and make connections with Europeans will accomplish something. In the choice between the easy, yet useless, and the difficult, yet useful, I choose the latter.

I think the relationship between Muslims and non Muslims in Europe absolutely needs repairing and a lot of this is due to our practices. There is a legitimacy in suggesting that we integrate in the community and not react violently when people practice their rights to freedom of speech, even if it is against Islam. My concern is that these fundamental rights are being voted on by a movement that is funded and supported by ignorance. I can't see this concession not opening the door for other concessions that may not be as benign and are still motivated by the same Islamophobes.

I understood where you were coming from and I can appreciate your points.. but your response just doesn't cut it for me. If we know this thing is not threatening, if we know it comes from ignorance, if we know it has no place in the law books.. then why are we so passively accepting its legitimacy? The minarets are symbolic of a deeper, profound tension and clash between Islam and Europe.. so where do we draw the lines? We both know that 4 minarets in Switzerland are NOT ruining Swiss culture.. its not like Muslims are trying to integrate them into Sweedish society by putting them on top of court houses and public libraries.. they are on top of mosques like a cross would be on top of a Church. They are sparse and this overreaction has absolutely no place on a ballot.

As for calling these people "bigots" I really have no choice in the matter. I can't imagine that they were anything but fundamentalist Christian groups who were selling the idea that Muslim minarets were scary and evil, a threat to Swiss culture :huh: . I don't even accept this as a clash of cultures, but rather a clash of religions where one faith is being singled out because they are in the minority right now. This is outright oppressive and I would be furious and am furious when it happens in the Middle East to Christians or other minorities. The difference is that in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia in particular) they don't pretend that they advocate religious freedom and diversity.

What about when they find my hijab scary or a threat to their culture.. should I remove it? Should I comply because noncompliance won't make the relationship between Muslims and non Muslims any smoother? I just can't follow the logic of that. If my country says it has freedom of religion then I don't care what Christian Islamophobes have to say about a minaret.. it stays because it posses no threat except the one inside their paranoid heads.. and that is not my baggage.

Edited by Zahratul_Islam
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beggars can't be choosers

most people will find this sickening but times have changed (not for the better) the reality is some muslims will beg and complain without any shame.

.....when the muslims in the west see this propaganda i think they should go (if they can), not weep and moan.

but muslims in other countries will read it as an attack on their religion (which it is) they are not wrong anyhow they only need to look in their backyards to see the countries policy and attitude to them. so the situation should not be anything shocking.

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If the Swiss people voted this, so be it - its their choice. Minarets aren't Mosques, nor are they vital for worship , they aren't banning Mosques/worshipping.

However, it doesn't mean it isn't a stupid idea.

I don't think banning of mosques is too far off. I mean the amount of support Geert Wilders currently has in the Netherlands is just disturbing, and it's growing everyday. You would think that views like his shouldn't exist or be supported in an area of the world that considers itself a beacon of democracy and tolerance. From reading the comments section of this story on cbc.ca, it seems like a lot of Canadians are xenophobes as well, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they support putting Muslims in camps as well. Let's face it, Muslims are really hated in the west, you have both George Bush to blame for a lot of that and Muslims as well.

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