What is most disturbing about this is the revisiting of Europeans back to their bigoted ideas that existed but flared up in certain moments of time. Fascism and Nazism were just two examples. Every society has its racists and bigots but when it comes to take a good chunk of society then that is an indication that a societal disease is present and in no way can they claim at least in the present that they are even remotely tolerant and believe in freedom. What is annoying is they ask the rest of us who live in third world countries to take them as examples. Yes, we have problems, too many to count, and some of them societal diseases but we at least the people admit we have these problems even if the dictatorships for governments prevent any advancement. What the heck is the Swiss excuse then? The people voted for this. What is it Muslims fault? Yeah yeah we are the ones who invade and occupy countries that have centuries of culture like Iraq and destroy a population and cause all kinds of havoc based on a lie. Yes that is our fault. Christians in Iraq have been there for centuries! Gone in a few years when new imperialists and Zionists came to Iraq. When the Lebanese war started in 1975, Kissinger told the late president Suleiman Franjiyeh that the US is ready to take all the Christians from Lebanon in the pretence it was for their own good! If that right wing group really cared about Christians then why aren’t they standing against the Israeli attack on them in Palestine? Of course not, they are probably buddies.
No more self-righteousness from the so called first world counties. There is nothing you have we want especially societal values. Seriously, they can’t even tolerate an architectural structure that even Muslims can’t use what can you approve of then?
Muslim, Christian Authorities Slam Swiss Referendum to Ban Minarets
30/11/2009 Swiss voters approved a ban on new mosque minarets being built, prompting dismay and anger in the Muslim world at the success of the far-right initiative.
The referendum to ban the minarets was approved Sunday by 57.5 percent of voters who cast ballots and in 22 out of the country’s 26 cantons.
Far-right politicians across Europe celebrated the results, while the Swiss government sought to assure the Muslim minority that a ban on minarets was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture.”
Minarets distinguish mosques and are traditionally used to call for prayers.
The far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) said that the minarets — of which Switzerland has only four and which are not allowed to broadcast the call to prayer — were not architectural features with religious characteristics, but symbolized a “political-religious claim to power, which challenges fundamental rights.”
The referendum’s approval was quickly condemned in the world’s most populous Muslim nations.
Leading Lebanese cleric Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah slammed as racist the Swiss referendum. Sayyed Fadlallah said in a statement that the ban was in line with a media frenzy to portray Muslims in a negative light and urged the West to seek better understanding of the Islamic religion.
“This kind of decision is aimed at inciting racism against Muslims in the West,” said Fadlallah, who has followers throughout the Shiite Muslim world. “It also negatively impacts on non-Muslims.”
He said Muslims in Switzerland should not resort to violence in answer to the ban. “I call on them to act positively with their Swiss compatriots, even those who voted in favor of a ban on the minarets,” his eminence said.
“This is the hatred of Swiss people against Muslim communities. They don’t want to see a Muslim presence in their country and this intense dislike has made them intolerant,” said Maskuri Abdillah, the head Indonesia’s biggest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama.
Egypt’s Mufti Ali Gomaa denounced the ban on new minarets as an “insult” to Muslims across the world.
“This proposal … is not considered just an attack on freedom of beliefs, but also an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland,” he said.
Pakistani religious groups condemned the referendum calling it “extreme Islamophobia.”
“This development reflects extreme Islamophobia among people in the West,” said Khurshid Ahmad, vice president of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic political party that is represented in Pakistan’s parliament.
“This also represents very serious discrimination against Muslims.”
Ahmad described the Swiss decision as a serious violation of human rights and international law. “This is an effort to provoke Muslims and prompt a clash between Islam and the West.”
Yahya Mujahid, a spokesman for Islamic charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa said: “The West never takes respite in claiming to be champions of religious tolerance and inter-faith harmony, but this latest decision shows their bias against Muslims.”
In Morocco, a parliamentarian from the Justice and Development Islamist Party expressed surprise.
“I think that Muslims in Switzerland, and those who live in the European Union, have a lot of work to do in communication to show their real face of tolerance and cohabitation of Islam,” said Saad Eddine Othmani.
Islam is the second largest religion in Switzerland after Christianity. Muslims in this country make up some five percent of the population.
The Conference of Swiss Bishops also criticized the result, saying that it “heightens the problems of cohabitation between religions and cultures.”
The Vatican issued a statement supporting the stance of the Conference of Swiss Bishops. Antonio Maria Sveglio, president of the pontifical council on migration, told the ANSA news agency that “we are on the same page” as the Conference of Swiss Bishops.
A mosque in Geneva was vandalized three times during the anti-minaret campaign, local media reported Saturday.
Justice Minister Widmer-Schlumpf sought to reassure Muslims, saying: “It is not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture. Of that, the Federal Council gives its assurance.”
But for the 400,000-strong Muslim community, the harm has been done.
“The most painful for us is not the minaret ban, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community,” said Farhad Afshar, who heads the Coordination of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland.
Young people carrying candles and cardboard minarets led a mock funerary procession in the federal capital Bern, carrying a banner reading “This is not my Switzerland,” the ATS news agency reported.
Amnesty International said the minaret ban is a “violation of religious freedom, incompatible with the conventions signed by Switzerland.”
The Swiss Green party said it was contemplating lodging a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for violation of religious freedoms as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It’s an expression of quite a bit of prejudice and maybe even fear,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency.
“It is clear that it is a negative signal in every way, there’s no doubt about it,” he told Swedish Radio.
Lawmakers at the Council of Europe, a 47-member human rights watchdog that Switzerland currently chairs, issued a statement expressing its concern at the result. “The result of this referendum goes against the values of tolerance, dialogue and respect for other people’s beliefs,” said Lluis Maria de Puig, the president of the body’s parliamentary assembly.
In neighbouring Austria, Interior Minister Maria Fekter said the government would “look at” the Swiss ban, but stressed that “freedom of religion is anchored in the (Austrian) constitution.”
But Austrian media were united in their attack of the Swiss ban.
The Der Standard daily described the vote as the “ugly face of direct democracy”, while the Die Presse newspaper said Swiss voters had done a “disservice” to their country.
French far-right politician Marine Le Pen welcomed the outcome, saying that the “elites should stop denying the aspirations and fears of the European people, who, without opposing religious freedom, reject ostentatious signs that political religious Muslim groups want to impose.”
“Switzerland is sending us a clear signal: yes to bell towers, no to minarets,” said Roberto Calderoli, minister of administrative simplification and a member of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party, told the ANSA news agency.
However, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner condemned Switzerland’s referendum vote as a show of intolerance and said the decision should be reversed. “I am a bit shocked by this decision,” Kouchner told RTL radio. “It is an expression of intolerance and I detest intolerance.
“I hope the Swiss will reverse this decision quickly,” he added.
Kouchner said “if we cannot build minarets that means that we are practicing religious oppression”.
“Is it really offensive that in a mountainous country there is a building that is a bit taller than the others?” he asked.
A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said Monday that the banning is a sign of a fear of Islam that also exists in Germany and must be “taken seriously.”
To criticize the outcome of the Swiss would be counterproductive. It reflects a fear of a growing Islamisation of society, and this fear must be taken seriously,” said Wolfgang Bosbach of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), in the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
SWITZERLAND FAR-RIGHT NOT WORRIED ABOUT MUSLIMS REACTION, BARGAINS ON HISTORIC ARAB AND MUSLIM PASSIVENESS
Meanwhile, SVP Vice-President Yvan Perrin cheered the fact that his party had won the vote “without difficulty.”
He told Radio Suisse Romande that Swiss companies should not worry about suffering from a possible backlash from Muslim countries.
“If our companies continue to make good quality products, they have nothing to worry about,” he said.
AI condemns Islamophobic Swiss vote
Mon, 30 Nov 2009, Press TV
Amnesty International has expressed deep regret over the Swiss voters’ approval of a ban on minarets, calling it a violation of religious freedom for Muslims.
“The ‘yes’ vote comes as a surprise and a great disappointment,” David Diaz-Jogeix, Amnesty International’s deputy program director for Europe and Central Asia, said on Monday.
“That Switzerland, a country with a long tradition of religious tolerance and the provision of refuge to the persecuted, should have accepted such a grotesquely discriminatory proposal is shocking indeed,” Diaz stressed.
He also added that the ban violates the right of Muslims to manifest their religion in Switzerland, and is incompatible with the international conventions signed by the European country.
Sunday’s referendum followed a controversial campaign against the symbolic architectural feature of Islamic mosques, spearheaded by far-right Swiss politicians, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP).
The SVP’s campaign posters depicted a Swiss flag sprouting black, missile-shaped minarets alongside a woman shrouded in a head-to-toe veil.
The poster, which was condemned worldwide for inciting hatred towards Islam, plays on fears that Muslim immigration will lead to an erosion of Swiss values.
Though the government opposed the ban, 57 percent of voters and 22 out of 26 cantons (or provinces) voted in favor of it, meaning minarets can no longer be erected anywhere in Switzerland.
The ban is expected to be rejected by either the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland or the European Court of Human Rights.
Islam is the second largest religion in Switzerland after Christianity, and its followers represent over 4 per cent of the country’s population.
Of 150 mosques or prayer rooms in Switzerland, only 4 have minarets, and only 2 more minarets are planned.
None broadcast the call to prayer.