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Vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear

Middle East News Service

[Middle East News Service comments: While Australians are glued to their media watching events in Canberra relating to the most important issue of climate change, the rest of the world goes on. Last weekend’s Swiss vote banning new minarets should not just slip by without registering on our consciousness. That is a bad decision which will only assist the radicalisation of young Western European Muslims. Even right-wing Israeli commentators like Ben-Dror Yemini in Ma’ariv regards it as a mistake.

The best analysis I have seen is that of Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Muslim Theologian whom back in 2002 Haaretz summarised as saying “My fellow Muslims, we must fight anti-Semitism”. Ramadan is famous from being banned from the United States. However, the equally conservative Howard government in Australia had no problems in issuing with a visa – Sol Salbe]

Hat tip: Bilal Cleland

My compatriots' vote to ban minarets is fuelled by fear

by Tariq Ramadan,
The Guardian

The Swiss have voted not against towers, but Muslims. Across Europe, we must stand up to the flame-fanning populists

Sunday 29 November 2009

It wasn't meant to go this way. For months we had been told that the efforts to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland were doomed. The last surveys suggested around 34% of the Swiss population would vote for this shocking initiative. Last Friday, in a meeting organised in Lausanne, more than 800 students, professors and citizens were in no doubt that the referendum would see the motion rejected, and instead were focused on how to turn this silly initiative into a more positive future.

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Today that confidence was shattered, as 57% of the Swiss population did as the Union Démocratique du Centre (UDC) had urged them to – a worrying sign that this populist party may be closest to the people's fears and expectations. For the first time since 1893 an initiative that singles out one community, with a clear discriminatory essence, has been approved in Switzerland. One can hope that the ban will be rejected at the European level, but that makes the result no less alarming. What is happening in Switzerland, the land of my birth?


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[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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