December 1, 2009

Ban on Minarets is not Aimed at Muslims but at Islamic Fundamentalism

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009   No comments


By A.E. SOUAIAIA

Swiss Justice Minister, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, said that Sunday's referendum, during which voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets, was not "a referendum against Islam... but a vote directed against fundamentalist developments." I say, what the &%@#! Seriously, can someone explain to me how a ban on building minarets could fight fundamentalism?

In my mind, the only thing this ban does is embolden fundamentalism, both Western and Islamic. It bolsters the position of those who argue that democracy is only a tool of convenience that is used selectively to subjugate Muslims. The ban weakens the position of Muslims who believe in civil society and pluralism. This ban does target Muslims; and empowers Western fundamentalists.

The ban encourages countries such as Saudi Arabia to continue its ban on building churches; it provides a powerful precedent that can be used by (ethnically or religiously) homogeneous societies to capitalize on one of the weaknesses of democracy: the tyranny of majoritism.

The ban exposes Europe’s hypocrisy. The ban illustrates the West’s selective commitment to human rights by prescribing a constitutional law that targets a specific religious group. When France enacted the other shameful ban on headscarf, at least it did so under to pretext of seemingly banning all religious symbols.

This discriminatory ban happened in the wrong place and at the wrong time: it happened in a country that symbolizes neutrality and during a time when this country presides over the European Court of Human Rights, which rules on breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights. I hope Switzerland will use this leadership position and overturns this shameful, bigoted law as fast as possible.

Some comfort themselves by the fact that the Swiss government opposed the ban. Obviously it did not oppose it hard enough; it did not educate the public about its legal and ethical implications. The only argument they put forth is that such a ban would tarnish the image of the country and hurt the national economy. Of course, it would hurt the national economy only if most of the corrupt Arab tyrants stop stashing their stolen public funds in Swiss banks. But most people know, now, that will never happen because the last thing a usurper of public money would want to see is an iconic minaret that may remind him of divine retribution. So sleep easy, this ban will not hurt the Swiss economy and the voters knew it.

SOUAIAIA

About SOUAIAIA

Islamic Societies Review Editors

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