Anti-Dhimmitude Alert: Note, too, how Islam and race are conflated once again. “Swiss far right forces vote on minaret ban,” by Matthew Weaver for the Guardian, July 8:
Far right groups in Switzerland have collected enough signatures to force a nationwide referendum on banning minarets, the distinctive towers of Islamic architecture.
In what is being seen as a sign of growing Islamophobia in Europe, more than 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition to halt the construction of minarets.
Under Switzerland’s direct democracy rules, that level of support is enough to trigger a referendum. The Swiss interior ministry today confirmed a vote would take place, without setting a date.
The petition was launched by Ulrich SchlÃ¼er an MP from the controversial Swiss People’s party, which was accused of racist campaigning last year.
The organisers of the petition argue that the minarets, which are used on mosques, are a symbol of political and religious claims to power, not just a religious sign.
SchlÃ¼er said last year: “We’ve got nothing against prayer rooms or mosques for the Muslims. But a minaret is different. It’s got nothing to do with religion; it’s a symbol of political power.”
SchlÃ¼er’s point is validated by the subscription-only Brill Online Encyclopedia of Islam, which states in its entry on minarets: “[T]hroughout the mediaeval period, the role of the minaret oscillated between two polarities: as a sign of power and as an instrument for the adhan (call to prayer). As for the legitimacy of this latter polarity, however, the same minaret entry also points out that “It [the minaret] seems on the whole unrelated to its function of the adhan calling the faithful to prayer, which can be made quite adequately from the roof of the mosque or even from the house-top.”
If SchlÃ¼er’s camp wins the referendum, the Swiss parliament must pass a law enshrining a minaret construction ban in the constitution.
Opponents say such a ban would violate religious freedom.
More than 310,000 of Switzerland’s 7.5 million population are Muslims, according to the federal statistical office.
The UN expert on racism, Doudou Diene, has said the campaign is evidence of an “ever-increasing trend” toward anti-Islamic actions in Europe.