Northern New York Newspapers
Watertown
Ogdensburg
Massena-Potsdam
Lowville
Carthage
Malone
NNY Business
NNY Living
NNY Ads
Mon., May. 25
ADVERTISE SUBSCRIBE
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
In print daily. Online always.
Related Stories

Minaret ban

PREV
NEXT
ARTICLE OPTIONS
A A
print this article
e-mail this article

Religious intolerance and fear won out in Switzerland's deplorable referendum to ban construction of minarets.


Pushed by a right-wing party, the referendum was approved by more than 57 percent of Swiss voters Sunday. The minarets became the most visible symbol of Islam in a growing backlash against the religion and Muslim immigration in Europe.


Minarets are used to call Muslims to prayer, but fears of Islamic extremism and scare tactics by ban supporters equated minarets with violence and Islamic practices that did not meet popular approval, such as wearing the body-covering burqa.


One campaign poster depicted minarets rising like missiles from the Swiss flag.


The ban prohibits future construction of minarets while leaving the four existing ones in place. It would be comparable to barring construction of church steeples in the United States or even the ringing of church bells; that would be considered religious discrimination or bigotry.


Outrage was quick to come from around the world.


U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay called the referendum the product of "anti-foreigner scare-mongering."


The Council of Europe said the ban raised concerns about whether "fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes."


Rather than counter Islamic fundamentalism as intended, the ban risks provoking extremists by causing anger.


The Swiss government had opposed the ban and now has to enforce it, but the country's justice minister said it contradicts the European Convention on Human rights.


Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference, called the ban an "example of growing anti-Islamic incitement in Europe by the extremist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, racist, scare-mongering ultra-right politicians who reign over common sense, wisdom and universal values."


The ban could still be overturned on appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Giveaway
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
WDT News FeedsWDT on FacebookWDT on TwitterWDT on InstagramWDT for iOS: iPad, iPhone, and iPod touchWDT for Android
Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes