Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Disturbing News

Switzerland has continued the European trend of limiting religious freedom. In a surprising move, they have banned Muslims from building minarets in the entire country.

A minaret is a small tower built next to a mosque that was traditionally climbed by a person to begin the call to a day before loud speakers, this was the best way for the call to prayer to be heard. Now minarets are a traditional architecture piece to symbolize the importance of prayer (and to hold a speaker).

The Swiss have confronted the issue in an honest, up-front way (as opposed to Brittain or the EU): They have been clear that they are against the practice of Islam that would establish its culture in Switzerland. The banners used to promote the ban, paint a picture of all Muslims being radical fundamentalists against freedom and women's rights.
Here is a quote from a Swiss citizen defending the ban:
Perhaps instead the Swiss are sending a message that they
are tired of the in-your-face practices of the Muslim community, such as the
burqas and the threats. Perhaps this backlash arose because of Muslim
pronouncements that Muslims are Muslims first and citizens of their host culture

A government/civic fear that adherents of faith are loyal to something other than state or nation first is driving force. I can't help but think how this relates to laws being made against crucifixes in public buildings in other European nations. I am concerned at the rising amount of religious intolerance taking place in the world today. Be it against Jews, Christians, or Muslims, the repression of religious belief is a growing trend. Sarkozy's (president of France) comments were frightfully full of warning to all people of religion.

"Christian, Jew or Muslim... each one must guard against all ostentation and all
provocation and, aware of the good fortune to be able to live in a free land,
practice his religion with humble discretion."

In other words, "Be happy we even let you live here...Mind your place, do as we say, and stay silent." It is an eerily familiar echo of another movement out of central Europe that was quite convincing in the 1930's.

Personally, I am horrified on behalf of our fellow children of Abraham. This is wrong. Keeping Sharia out of government is one thing. Telling religious adherents that their tasteful symbols of prayer on private property are not allowed is something else.

What is next? How does this or a future action by your government affect your beliefs? Do you think the governments are right in banning religious affections and symbols?

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