Switzerland, minarets, Islam and human rights
The poster campaign showing minarets as missiles was undoubtedly provocative and offensive. Switzerland is a democracy which permits freedom of speech and freedom of expression, so get over it.
The Muslim community there makes up 400,000 out of a total population of 7.5 million people. They are justifiably dismayed by this decision, but Switzerland is a democracy which is governed by the ballot box, so get over it.
Muslims may feel alienated, ostracised and defamed by this decision, but 57 per cent of Swiss voters have expressed their view, so get over it.
The Swiss government and parliament had rejected the ban as unconstitutional, but their people have decided to the contrary. In a true democracy, it is the people who decide which powers to lend to their governments, and the people have spoken, so get over it.
Apparently, the ban is a ‘far-right’ initiative of the Swiss People’s Party. This is appalling. How dare any ‘right wing’ (let alone a ‘far right’) party articulate any view with which as many as 57 per cent of an entire population might agree.
And Cranmer is equally appalled that 22 out of 26 cantons voted to ban the minarets: what does this say about the backward, unenlightened, extremist, xenophobic Swiss and their outdated, medieval views, their contempt for human rights and the tyrannical propensity by which they oppress the minorities who dwell among them?
Switzerland is not a member of the EU and so not subject to its courts. Were it to be so, there is no doubt that the democratic will of the Swiss would be overturned with the stroke of a pen by the assertion of an 'equality' directive: after all, if the Christians can have their spires, why should the Muslims not have their minarets and the Jedi their death stars? But this is a local planning matter, and mosques and minarets are no more a prerequisite for the practising of Islam than church buildings and spires are for Christianity. There is no 'phobia' or 'religious hatred' in the decision: for the Swiss, this is not simply about the construction of minarets, but the realisation that each one may lead to an amplified call to prayer, and each amplified call to prayer the universal proclamation five time a day of the omnipotence of Allah and the uniqueness of Mohammed his prophet. And so the matter is both political and religious; material and spiritual; planning and prophetic.
Was Switzerland right to ban the construction of minarets?
Cranmer is not Swiss: it is not for him to say. But Calvin would undoubtedly have thought so. And the people of Switzerland have in any case spoken. They still possess and inhabit a democracy.
Is their intolerance un-Christian, unenlightened or undemocratic?
Possibly, maybe, yes and no. But who are we to judge the express will of a sovereign and independent people?
Will there be a 'Muslim backlash'?
Only by the intolerant, unenlightened and anti-democratic ones.