• RSS News from Palestine

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS المنار

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS أخبار فلسطين

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • web tracker

Background on Swiss schizophrenia

Some religions are more welcome than others

If you’re a Sikh, Hindu or Buddhist in Switzerland and want to build a temple, no problem; if you’re a Muslim and want to put up a minaret, you’d better start praying.

For while some non-native religions have proved easy bedfellows for the Swiss, others – notably Islam – have found it more difficult to be accepted.

So much so in the case of Islam that Swiss Muslims currently face the prospect of seeing the construction of minarets put to a nationwide vote.

The rightwing campaign to ban minarets, launched with October’s parliamentary elections in mind, follows local opposition in a handful of Swiss-German towns.

One of these, Wangen in canton Solothurn, lies just a few kilometres from the Wat Thai centre, home of the Buddhist faith in Switzerland. Four years ago a new Buddhist temple costing SFr9 million ($7.35 million) opened on the site.

Even closer to Wangen, the commune of Trimbach last year approved plans for the construction of a Hindu temple for the local Tamil community.

A similar sense of schizophrenia exists in neighbouring canton Bern where plans to construct a minaret in Langenthal ran into trouble. The same commune is home to a sizeable Sikh temple, built in the traditional style.

While there were a few “obstacles” along the way, notes the temple’s website, there were no problems when it came to erecting the domes.

Islam a threat?

For Samuel-Martin Behloul, research assistant at the department for the study of religions at Lucerne University, this disparity is principally down to perception: Islam is seen as a threat.

“Islam is presented as the absolute opposite in religious and cultural terms to the fundamentals of Swiss and European society. There is a problem of perception post-9/11, and it is seen as a threat unlike other non-native religions,” he said.

The current state of play is a source of great sadness for Hisham Maizar, president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland.

Maizar, who sits on the Swiss Council of Religions, has lived in Switzerland for 40 years and says discrimination towards Muslims has never been as strong.

“It makes me feel very sad. People are not being open-minded,” he said. “They are afraid of Islam and afraid of Muslims, but it is not we who are responsible for these terrible events in other parts of the world. We are not extremists.”

“Before 9/11 we were welcomed here and there was good interfaith dialogue. But afterwards the picture changed completely. We felt we had to justify that we were not terrorists.”


Alfred Donath, president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, says a big increase numbers, coupled with a failure to fully integrate, also goes against the country’s Muslims.

The 2000 census showed their numbers had more than doubled over the previous decade to 310,000. It is estimated that this figure now stands at around 340,000.

“There are so many more [Muslims] than in other non-Swiss religions. This is part of the reason why the Swiss have a certain fear of Muslims: that too many could change the demographic balance,” said Donath, who also sits on the Council of Religions.

This is not the case with other non-native religions, he says, because their numbers are so small. At the last census there were 18,000 Jews, 21,000 Buddhists and 28,000 Hindus.

Maizar, though, believes the numbers game is a red herring. He argues that Switzerland welcomed refugees from the Balkans and now has a duty to look after them. He dismisses as “utter nonsense” claims that Muslims have failed to integrate.

“More than 50 per cent of Muslims here are under 25. These are the second generation and they differ completely from their parents in that they are assimilated,” said Maizar.

“All they want is to be accepted as human beings and to be integrated as Swiss citizens. But what we are seeing at the moment can only serve to alienate them.”


Switzerland: Minarets as “claims to political dominance”

So after the so-called “conference” in Germany against the building of Mosques, which was really a meeting to formulate a genocidal agenda against Muslim citizens of European countries, another one is making the rounds, this time having to do with the desire to ban Minarets. Boy, are the zionified neo-nazi westerners obsessed with Islam and Muslims….!!! That this even gets “debated”, let alone voted on, is quite telling about the true nature of the western world, which claims it is “civilized”, “freedom-loving”, and “secular.” Civilized, freedom-loving, and secular only when there is no difference of opinion, no “challenge” to prevailing mindsets, no “competition” with the dominant Religion. Westerners’ understanding of “freedom” is as peculiar as that of Saddam Hussein’s, Stalin’s, Hitler’s, Mussolini’s, to name just a few dictators who have at one point or another claimed to represent the people’s interest, needs, and aspirations. Just imagine the House of Representatives in ANY European country debating a ban on Synagogues, claiming they are symbols of political dominance (which they are, aside from being symbols of [Jewish] racial supremacism), and urging intensification of the fight against “Judaization” of the “western world.” ADL, and zionazis would be screaming murder at the top of their lungs, if such a thing ever happened, which it never would. But I bet this has the blessing of most (zionist) Jews in Europe. After all, the neo-nazis and zionazis are the best of friends these days. Arguably, zionazis and nazis were the best of friends. They had a shared interest. 6 million less Jews served Hitler’s interests, and also those of the zionazis, who would create a Holocaust Industry out of it. And now, the zionazis are setting the stage for the persecution and (possible) genocide against Muslims in Europe, at the same time as they kill and maim Muslims all over the region, and take over our lands.

So now, under the cloak of such ridiculous arguments as “Muslim extremists could use Mosques (Minarets????) for ‘criminal activities'” (I guess next in line will be a proposal to ban Muslims from buying or renting apartments or houses, or opening up shops or buying clothes or food or chocolate, because they could be used for “criminal activities” too), they (zionists and their best friends the european neo-nazis) pursue their plans of ethnically cleansing Europe and parts of the Middle East of Muslims.

The Swiss House of Representatives debates and votes on Minaret ban proposal

The House of Representatives has come out against a proposal by rightwing political parties to ban minarets, Urs Geiser writes for swissinfo.

A majority also rejected calls by the centre-left to declare the people’s initiative invalid. The other parliamentary chamber, the Senate, still has to discuss the issue.

The initiative, launched by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party and a small ultra-conservative Christian party, was handed in with 113,540 valid votes last year. It will be put to a nationwide vote at a later date.

Muslim organizations have expressed their concern about the initiative, which has been rejected by the cabinet.

More than 50 parliamentarians took part in Wednesday’s debate which lasted for nearly six-hours. In the end, the House voted 129 against 50 to rebuff the initiative.

An overwhelming majority said the proposal violated human rights and international law and jeopardised the peaceful coexistence of religions.

“The initiative takes aim at the Muslim community,” warned Bea Heim of the centre-left Social Democratic Party. Other speakers described the plan as irresponsible, “an insult for Muslims,” scaremongering or “a campaign to instigate hatred.”

“I’m not willing to provide fuel for arsonists,” said Ueli Leuenberger of the Green Party, when he took the podium to explain his position.

Social Democrat Andreas Gross criticized the government for failing to nullify the initiative at an early stage. He called on parliament to “act bravely and to put respect for religious freedom over political opportunism.”

But his appeal was barely heeded by members outside the centre-left.


For their part, People’s Party parliamentarians argued the initiative was the right answer to counter an alleged “Islamization” of the western world. Minarets were described as claims to political dominance rather than religious symbols.

“It’s time to counter the pretension to power,” said Jasmin Hutter, who also slammed Islam as intolerant and repressive toward women.

“Minarets, muezzins [people at the mosque who lead the call to prayer] and Sharia law have to be seen in the same context,” added Walter Wobmann.

Numerous right-wing parliamentarians slammed Islamic values as incompatible with the Christian ideals and Switzerland’s democratic principles.

They also warned that Muslim extremists would use mosques for criminal activities.

During a heated debate Ulrich Schlüer accused opponents of trying to ignore the concerns of all those citizens who signed the people’s initiative.


Representatives of the centre-right Christian Democratic Party called for more dialogue between the religions.

“I dread the forthcoming campaign by the People’s Party,” said Kathy Riklin.

Jacques Neirynck was among several speakers who expressed their feelings of disgust and shame over demands for a minaret ban and Wednesday’s parliamentary debate.

“The initiative is dangerous, populist and damages Switzerland’s reputation. I wish it was not on the table,” he said.

But several speakers also pointed out that the initiative had to be taken seriously because it reflected serious concerns of citizens.

It was launched in the wake of debates at a local level in parts of German-speaking Switzerland over the planned construction of minarets. At present only four mosques in the county have such spires.


Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf repeated the government’s rejection of the initiative.

“Switzerland would be in violation of international obligations and its credibility would be seriously dented,” she told the House.

However, she said the initiative did not violate international law.

Widmer-Schlumpf added that a minaret ban would endanger the peaceful coexistence of Christians and Muslims.

“Minarets are religious symbols. A ban is an infringement of religious freedom,” she said.

She said the debate had shown that some supporters of a minaret ban were prepared to use unfair and dishonest arguments.

The initiative seeks a ban on minarets, according to supporters of the initiative, but it appeared that many speakers raised general objections against Islam, Widmer-Schlumpf said.