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Ethnic and religious minorities in Europe continue to suffer from discrimination and prejudice and face disadvantages in a whole host of areas, from employment and education to housing and policing, a report published yesterday (3 December) by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) reveals.
German-Turkish Director Fathi Akin Boycotts Swiss Over Minarets: http://www.google.com/hostedn…
La présidence suédoise s?est dite lors de la réunion du Conseil des ministres du 30 novembre et 1er décembre, préoccupée par le référendum suisse interdisant la construction de nouveaux minarets. « C?est l?expression d?un préjugé et peut-être même d?une peur, mais il est clair qu?il s?agit à tous égards d?un signe négatif, il n?y a aucun
The timing could not have been better. The fallout of the Conservative decision not to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty now that it has come into force, and not to hold a referendum on any other European question either until new proposals come from Brussels, blends into the news reports from Switzerland on the referendum on minarets. (Read about the referendum here.)
By Patricia Lee Sharpe
Can you believe it? A bunch of foreign fanatics wants to desecrate our traditional skyline with toothpick towers they call minarets from which they?ll yodel I don’t know how many times a day, and we?re supposed to sit by, mum as mice, while Switzerland becomes Switzerlost. Minarets! Impaling clouds! Making a Swiss cheese of the heavens. No way! No new minarets! As for those built already, down with every one of them! If these terrorists-in-the-making don?t like it, well! we?ll sic the Swiss Guard on them. A good Swiss pike can repel any raghead?and aren?t those puffy pants cute?
Iran has warned Switzerland of ‘consequences’ following the recent referendum there on minaret construction. Characteristic Ahmadinejadian subtlety! But here’s a thought: when scripted opprobrium flies around the world, it’s usually between governments or other impersonal entities. Given Switzerland’s unusual direct-democracy, however, where people can enact laws even when the government is against them, doesn’t this mean that the condemnations are, for once, aimed directly at a nation’s public rather than the government that represents them?
This past Sunday, voters in Switzerland were at the poles to take part in one of the most controversial referendums to arise in a country renowned for being uncompromisingly neutral. The question on the ballot was straightforward: Do you support the creation of a constitutional amendment to ban the future construction of minarets in Switzerland? Though supporters of the ?yes? side fought a hard campaign that some have called racist, and Islamophobic, it was widely believed among pundits that the referendum would be handily defeated. The final tally reads otherwise. All together, 57.5 per cent of Swiss citizens who cast ballots supported the ban, as did twenty-two of Switzerland?s twenty-six cantons (roughly equivalent to states).”
When I first heard about the decision of the Swiss people on minarets, I felt what I felt when the US was enslaved by the ?Bushist? spell and ceased to become a beacon — however imperfect — of pluralism, multiculturalism, common sense, tolerance, human rights and open-mindedness.
Switzerland?s minaret ban took me back to a joint European Union-Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting that took place in İstanbul seven years ago. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was not in power then. The event was one of the visionary moves of then-Foreign Minister İsmail Cem.
In yesterday’s New York Times, Ross Douthat argued that the populist backlash that led to Switzerland’s minaret ban is the result of the European Union’s increasingly undemocratic style of governance, notwithstanding the fact, as he acknowledges, that Switzerland is not an EU member:
A few weeks ago, I found myself walking through a Swiss village?OK, it was really a Geneva suburb?called Nyon. Still, it looked like a village: There was a castle on the hill and some Roman ruins. There were a few shops and a nice view of the lake.
A surprise vote to bar new minarets suggests that suspicion between faiths and cultures, even in calm democracies, runs deeper than liberal types admit
The Swiss minaret controversy supports Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?s claim that it is Europe, not Turkey, which is going through a shift of axis.
The ban on minaret construction in Switzerland has led to our experiencing historical déjà vu and the fear of a return to the Europe of the Middle Ages. The emergence of such a referendum result even in a country like Switzerland, which is generally accepted to have achieved a level of civilization that exceeds the European average, has led to widespread unease. Switzerland has left Europe face-to-face with a great reactionary danger.
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 construction of new minarets (not mosques) and will not affect Switzerland’s four existing minarets. Jillian York covered the initial reactions from the Arab and Muslim blogosphere. The ban is still creating ripples of tension among the supporters and opposition.
The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, is renewing his support for Turkish membership in the European Union. Schroder wrote in a comment for the Germany weekly newspaper Die Zeit, that “Turkey is a bridge between Europe and the Middle East – this cannot be rated highly enough and is in our European interests. For this reason the accession of Turkey to the European Union is from a high security-political importance for the whole continent.”