On December 24, the Arab American News published a piece called “Minaret ban indicates evolving fascism” by Ali Moossavi, in which Moossavi, with a Charles-Johnsonish flair for defamation, characterized those concerned about the Islamization of Europe as neofascists. Predictably, Moossavi paid no attention to the fact that there is no similar reaction in Europe against Hindus, Sikhs, or other immigrant communities. Moossavi doesn’t consider, of course, the fact that many young Muslims in Europe identify publicly with the global jihad and against Western ideals of freedom and democracy.
Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union responded with this letter to the Arab American News:
Mr Moossavi has completely failed to understand the reasons for the Swiss vote in favour of a ban on the construction of minarets. The call for a referendum was certainly provocative and the Swiss People’s Party, the SVP, is certainly on the right of Swiss politics. But the SVP does not have the level of support which on its own would have brought them victory in the referendum.
The Swiss in general are a tolerant, liberal people, and are not racists. But living as they do in the heart of Europe, they can hardly be unaware of what is happening around them. The vote was quite simply a reaction to the ever more shrill demands of Europe’s Islamic leaders for special rights and special treatment. Examples are legion: special areas set aside in the workplace for prayers – in company time; demands for an alternative system of justice based on sharia law for the settlement of family disputes that would deny women equal treatment; and the fact that while not all Muslims are terrorists, most terrorists we have seen in Europe recently have been Muslims.
The Swiss were also provoked by a recent call by Muammar Gaddafi for Switzerland to be broken up because the Geneva police had had the temerity to arrest his son for beating a servant, followed by the unjustified arrest of two Swiss businessmen in Libya in retaliation.
Most of all, however, the Swiss have been provoked by the failure of Europe’s Muslims to play by the rules; to enter into debate about the merits and demerits of Islam, but instead to take to the streets, banners screaming for the overthrow of democracy and freedom, at every insult to Islam, real or perceived.
The other reason for the success of the vote was that it does not infringe the right of Muslims to practice their religion. It was merely symbolic. Muslims are completely free to build mosques and worship in them as they please without any interference. It is no hardship not to have a minaret. To put this into perspective it should be compared with the plight of the Christians in Iraq and Egypt who face daily violence, with priests being murdered, churches burnt and worshipers harassed.
No, Mr Moossavi, this was not racism or fascism, it was a protest vote and a wake up call to Europe’s Muslims to lower the tone.
Roy W Brown