Thursday, December 3, 2009

A minaret a mosque doesn't make!

Swiss right wing parties have touched a raw nerve among voters in a referendum to stop the building of minarets on future mosques. Global Islamic terrorism, which like the fog slips across national borders, has much to tilt the vote towards such a ban. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, it is here, it is there, it is everywhere. Elusive. Dangerous. Murderous. It also has to do with the seemingly snail pace integration of Muslim emigrants into Europe's sociocultural and political fabric. Often is heard the plaint, they're not like us; they do not fit in; they reject our ways. Some do, others don't, but that explanation satisfies.
Let's say this straightaway, a minaret a mosque doesn't make. A muezzin can and does make the call to prayer in a garden or even inside the mosque. Unlike Judaism, Islam doesn't require a minimum of 10, to pray in a mosque. It can be done individually or at home. An imam's sermon is not necessary.
So, labeling the Swiss vote as a violation of human rights is not useful. You can turn the argument on its head, by citing Saudi Arabia which forbids any church or synagogue. Or the second class rights of Christians or Jews or non Muslims in say Pakistan.
Switzerland does not forbid the propagation of Islam on its territory, but Arab and Muslim lands do formally and strictly forbid the right of Christians and Jews and other non Muslim faiths to proselytise, on the pain of death.
So much for considerations of human rights.
Were Switzerland 'racist' in this sense, it would've denied a safe haven for the so called moderate voice of a more liberal Islam, Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the much feared and aggressive Muslim Brotherhood.

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