Maybe because I was busy with my all daily stuff, I missed it, but in classes and in corridor talks Swiss minaret referendum was not in the agenda at all. Students made fun of Switzerland mostly in passing. It is portrayed as a parochial country (!) in the middle of Europe. Many columnists added the case as another case of growing intolerance in Europe; Erdoğan gave the expected reaction and Egemen Bağış, our chief EU negotiator made my day: He used the issue for pragmatic purposes. “Rich Muslims should transfer their money from Swiss banks to Turkish banks who are ready for investment.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the lawmakers of his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. Erdogan criticized a ban on the building of new minarets in Switzerland. A Swiss ban on minarets could violate fundamental liberties, Europe’s top human-rights watchdog said Monday in an indication that the heavily criticized vote could be overturned. The referendum was approved by 57.5 percent of the population Sunday, forcing the government to declare illegal the building of any new minarets in Switzerland.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
This last referendum in Switzerland on the banning of minarets was inherently racist, and its result is quite humiliating for both the Swiss people and Muslims living there.
As of the date of the vote, there were four minarets in Switzerland, attached to mosques in ….. Swiss voters back ban on minarets in referendum Reuters, …
The opinion of 57 percent of people who voted in a referendum held in Switzerland on barring the construction of minarets is drawing reaction not only from the Muslim world but also from Christians.
My compatriots? vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear
by Tariq Ramadan, The Guardian, 29 November 2009
It wasn?t meant to go this way. For months we had been told that the efforts to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland were doomed. The last surveys suggested around 34% of the Swiss population would vote for this shocking initiative. Last Friday, in a meeting organised in Lausanne, more than 800 students, professors and citizens were in no doubt that the referendum would see the motion rejected, and instead were focused on how to turn this silly initiative into a more positive future.
Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a ban on construction of minarets on 29 November 2009. This is a blow to the multicultural image of a country where some 400,000 Muslims ? representing some 4,3 per cent of the population (see box) ? are well integrated and can be considerate as moderate, in any case miles away from any fundamentalist cliché. Most of these residents came from the Balkans in the 1990s and only a minority are practising. True, they are mostly new incomers; not all master the political and cultural codes of their new country.
The concensus on this weekend’s Swiss minaret ban seems to be that it “heralds a new surge in populist, anti-immigrant sentiment,” and contradicts Switzerland’s images as “a place where peace, democracy and human rights are valued above all else.” There are a few problems with this narrative.
Swiss voters, at least those who bothered to show up at the polls, today voted to deny any future building of minarets in their country. As reported on Al-Jazeera:
France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner condemns Switzerland’s referendum vote to ban the building of minarets.
The people of Switzerland voted on Sunday to ban the construction of new minarets. The referendum initiated by the Swiss People’s Party and the conservative Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland has dealt a severe blow to religious peace in the country, writes the European press.
First, a few thoughts on how we should try to approach difficult questions concerning freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The general understanding in Europe has been that there are universal rights. In Europe the secular state does its best to guarantee that the rights of all are respected, as long as they do not harm the freedom of others to practice their beliefs. Outside Europe we try to promote human rights.
The Council of Europe and the European Union are built on the premises of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Membership requires respect for fundamental rights.
PARIS — Voters in Switzerland decided Sunday to ban the building of minarets, in a referendum that showed an unexpected level of resentment against Muslim immigrants in a country long known for discretion and tolerance.
In a shocking result, 57% of the Swiss have voted to ban mosques with minarets in their country. Both the majority of cantons and the majority of people have voted to ban the mosques, reflecting the increasingly xenophobic mood of Swiss politics.
On 29 November, the people of Switzerland voted to ban the construction of new minarets. The referendum initiated by the Swiss people’s party and the conservative federal democratic union has dealt a severe blow to religious peace in the country, write the Estonian, Swiss, Portuguese and Austrian press
Dutch MP Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party has said it wants a referendum on the building of minarets similar to the one held in Switzerland on Sunday . Mr Wilders expects the Dutch to ban new minarets just like a 57.5 percent majority of Swiss did.
The referendum result is hailed as a breakthrough by the opposition MP. “It’s the first time that people in Europe have stood up to a form of Islamisation.”
Other xenophobic nationalist parties in Europe are taking a similar line to the Netherlands’ Freedom Party. Mario Borghezio, a Euro-MP for Italy’s Northern League (Lega Nord) called for a referendum in Italy, saying “The flag of a courageous Switzerland which wants to remain Christian is flying over a near-Islamised Europe.”
The minaret ban in Switzerland has drawn fierce criticism from all over Europe. For their part certain right-wing demagogues have welcomed the outcome of the vote. In light of these developments the European media discuss religious freedom, referendums and Europe’s relationship with Islam.
On Sunday, November 29, 57.5% of Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of new minarets atop mosques, paving the way for a constitutional amendment. The referendum will affect the building of new minarets?not mosques?and will not effect Switzerland’s four existing minarets.
Twittering Julien Frisch was the first to make me aware of the matter, and later I saw Carl Bildt mention it on his blog, Alla dessa dagar. I decided to take a look at the web pages of the Council of Europe:
Switzerland has taken over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the principal decision-making body of the Council of Europe, for a period of 6 months. From 18 November 2009 to 11 May 2010, Switzerland will focus on 3 main areas: protection of human rights and the primacy of law, strengthening of democratic institutions, and increasing the transparency and the effectiveness of the Council of Europe.
Mohamed Aseel Hassan from Maldives comments on the Swiss minaret ban: ?I am outraged that one of the most liberal countries in the world would vote to pass such a ridiculous motion. It’s a gross violation of peoples right to freedom of religion and of expression.?
Un vote lourd de conséquences. Aux lendemains du vote massif pour interdire les minarets, les autorités s’inquiétaient, hier, de la poursuite de leurs relations commerciales et diplomatiques avec le monde musulman.
THE DECISION of Swiss voters to ban the construction of new minarets was criticised by human rights agencies but welcomed by European anti-immigrant political parties.
A deep and troubling insecurity toward Muslims seems to be bubbling in the continent
Switzerland?s vote to ban minarets on mosques there raises the question of whether anything similar might happen elsewhere in Europe. Researching this for an analysis of the vote today, I found experts …
A boy watches as the dome structure is put in place on the Strasbourg Grand Mosque. France has an estimated 5 million Muslims, the largest of any European nation. Though French politicians have been contemplating …