last updated: 4 Dec 2009- 14:00
One year later:
Criticism continues to rain down on Switzerland, which banned minarets in the country following a referendum held on Sunday, with many finding the move a severe blow to religious freedom and human rights.
The Swiss vote last Sunday to ban the building of minarets in new mosques in Switzerland came as a shock to many. Some dismissed the vote as a trivial issue. Only half of the Swiss citizens, they argued, participated in the referendum, and about 58 percent of those said no to the minarets.
[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News] You must have heard that the open-minded people of Switzerland took to the polls last weekend to ban minarets – in a country where there are only four of them. These days, the global news is full of stories and commentaries about this apparently democratic, yet shockingly illiberal decision. But if you really want to understand the undercurrents that led the majority of the Swiss society to this unbelievable point, I would suggest watching a 1940 film, “Der Ewige Jude.” This was an anti-Semitic “documentary” produced by Fritz Hippler, who, under Joseph Goebbels, ran the film department in the Propaganda Ministry of the Third Reich. The 62-minute film, whose title means “The Eternal Jew,” was made to convince its German audience that Jews were dangerous creatures who, simply by their existence, threatened the civilized society of the Aryan peoples.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
“How the Right Is Wrong
The Bizarre Logic Behind the Swiss Minaret Ban
By Yassin Musharbash
Us against them. That is how Europe’s right wing sees the Swiss ban on minarets. After all, so goes the logic, Christians in the Muslim world aren’t doing any better. But the argument is the height of intellectual laziness. The two groups simply cannot be compared.