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Cheesed Off With The Swiss

So the Swiss have decided that they want no more minarets. Well, like the Kaiser Chiefs I predict a riot. Do you remember the Motoons of Doom riots? In certain parts of the Islamic world they ran out of Danish flags to burn and burnt Swiss ones instead. I wonder if the reverse will happen this time?

I dunno how much upset there will be internationally. Somehow I can’t see Saudi princelings closing their numbered accounts and stomping their Rolexes into the dust. I suppose they could ban yodelling (which would be an unalloyed good) and torch a huge pile of Toblerones…

Minarets should be a planning issue in the same way that building a MonstroMart in a picturesque village is. But alas it isn’t. Minarets can be supremacist symbols. Within dhimmi states historically the mosque had to be taller than other religious buildings to demonstrate Islam’s supremacy*. But… Switzerland is not a dhimmi state (clearly not!) so I think the Swiss have over-reacted here. This ban has all the hallmarks of something approaching the start of a witch-hunt. If the Swiss want to antagonise the Muslims in their midst (who I am given to understand are primarily pretty easy-going Turks and Bosnians) then congratulations! They have achieved their goal. This ban plays perfectly into the hands of the sort of rabble-rousing clerics who preach that Europe systematically discriminates against Muslims. It’s an own goal against a non-issue and an absolute guarantee of null points from Turkey at the next Eurofission.

It is also putting the cart before the horse. If you have Catholics you get churches, with Jews synagogues, with Muslims mosques. It doesn’t go the other way around. If the Swiss fear Islamic domination then they should be tough on the causes of minarets and not on minarets themselves. Instead they have fired a pathetic warning shot against Islam over a non-issue in a way that demonstrates fear not resolution and in so doing they have pissed-off a lot of Muslims. Great!

Perhaps more to the point though I don’t object to Islam because of it’s funny clothes or festivals or it’s architecture – certainly not the later some of which is exquisite** – but because it’s core beliefs frequently promote violence and authoritarianism. What the Swiss are essentially attacking here is the symbol and not the thing in itself. If someone wants to build a minaret and worship Allah then fine. They can knock themselves out. If the imam starts going all Abu Hamza then we have a problem. Cathedral spires didn’t cause the crusades and minarets don’t cause jihads any more than guns cause violence.

I am amazed this was a federal issue in Switzerland. It should be a town planning issue and it should come down to whether the minaret in question spoils (or perhaps enhances) the view or causes traffic problems or whether or some such. It should be an issue for local people and a matter of civil law. If, from said minaret, the imam starts inciting murder or at the attached madrassa scheming bomb-plots then it is a police matter. It’s that simple and a federal ban on a type of addition to a building is that ludicrous. This is especially so in a nation that has prided itself on its liberal tradition going back centuries.

I, like the Swiss, have fears over creeping shariah (sounds like a particularly nasty garden weed) but this is just not the right way to go about tackling radical Islam and the horrors that come in it’s wake. There has been much debate in Britain about shariah operating as a parallel legal system. That of course should not be allowed to happen because there should be one unified law for all of us (even Lord Mandelson). I believe that to be a universal concept. Within a jurisdiction the same law should hold for everyone. It would appear that when it comes to the construction of religious buildings 57% of the Swiss disagree with me. And their cheese is full of holes too!

*Mohammed Atta was an architect and what really boiled his piss initially were the Hiltons and Banks of America towering over the old mosques in his native Cairo. Not that this is uniquely Islamic. Until quite recently you couldn’t build anything in London taller than St Paul’s.
**And a lot is dross as in any architectural tradition. Like I said this is a planning issue.


  1. Ed P says:

    This is purely Libertarian: freedom from (having the townscape despoiled with funny foreign-looking spires), rather than freedom to do as you like.

    Perhaps some Saudi wanted to build a swiss chalet back home and was refused planning consent?

  2. Kevin B says:

    Lot’s of interesting stuff in the Telegraph article about this, but one of the things that leapt out at me was the opinion poll results. Before the vote they were showing 53-37 against the ban, but the actual result was 57-43 for. Either the banners had a very good campaign or people were saying “I’m a good little multi-culti Swiss person” to the pollsters while actually being rabid, far right racists, (at least according to the press/government).

    Over on Samizdata they’re busily discussing “What should a libertarian do?”. Since I’m not libertarian I’ve stayed out of that one, but having worked in a few Muslim countries I must admit that having lots of muezzins competing for how loud they can turn up their amps when calling the faithful to prayer at the crack of dawn would certainly predjudice me in favour of the ban.

    Cracks like this tend to predjudice my feelings as well:

    Andreas Gross, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, …said: “This is clearly the result of a lack of information and political education in Switzerland. As a result the voters have been misdirected by their emotions. The foundations of Switzerland’s direct democracy have failed.”

    Translated: “The stupid Swiss racists can’t be trusted to vote on things like this. We authorities must take their voting rights away.”

    You’re right Nick, ideally it’s a local planning issue, but it’s never going to be just that as long as people, (on both sides), are involved.

  3. john in cheshire says:

    Apparently Tariq Ramadan thinks this result is the thin end of the wedge. Well, it probably was, because if the Swiss had voted for minarets, then the muslims would be back tomorrow with more demands. I think islam is evil. I am therefore quite pleased that at least one country in Europe has drawn a line in the sand. It’s a pity they didn’t vote to pull down all the mosques too.

  4. Monoi says:

    Hey, they can still build mosques albeit with no minarets. So really, whats the big deal?

    I fear a lot more people like Andreas Gross.

  5. JuliaM says:

    “…having worked in a few Muslim countries I must admit that having lots of muezzins competing for how loud they can turn up their amps when calling the faithful to prayer at the crack of dawn would certainly predjudice me in favour of the ban.”

    In Switzerland, that’s banned anyway:

  6. RAB says:

    Yes Julia, that was one of my points over on Samizdata.
    The call to prayer is banned, so what do you need a Minaret for?
    A Minaret, as we all know here, has two purposes. One to call to prayer. Two as a symbol of Supremacy.
    It is the second that the Muslims are going for here. Putting two fingers up to the Swiss people as it were. Well the Swiss have had the guts to put up two fingers back.
    I could care less if it upsets the little peace loving darlings.

    Baroness Warsi was pelted with eggs by some Muslim youth on a walkabout today by the way. No particular reason except they think she isn’t a proper Muslim. There is just no pleasing the fuckwits is there?

  7. Hektor says:

    I lived in Switzerland for 18 months and it was quite a big issue. Nobody I spoke to wanted them and most were against it. It was almost an issue of respect: if you come into my country then you should live by my values, not try to recreate your homeland here. Well, I did live in a Catholic farming village….

  8. NickM says:

    It can only be a symbol of supremacy if Islam rules. Personally, I think they have the right to build minarets as long as they respect neighbouring property rights. Seeing as the rule of Islam would be obnoxious it must be resisted but I think this is a silly fight to pick. I don’t care what a mosque looks like (in principle and depending upon context). I do care what is preached in there. If the daft fuckers are just trying to knock themselves out on rugs whilst some bugger with a beard wails on in Arabic then fine. Not my favoured game but then neither is cricket. If it’s “Kill all the Jews!” then different matter.

    One of the oldest lines of argument here is the, “Until there’s a church in Mecca…” one and the Swiss have lost some of the moral high-ground there. And we desperately need to keep the high ground. And the West hasn’t with this petty piece of legislation just as it didn’t with it’s (generally) craven response to some Danish cartoons. Two sides of the same coin.

    The Swiss just dealt Muslims a court card for their hand in victimhood poker and as we all know they are World class at that.

    For myself (and I think Cats – presumptious, I know) our primary weapon against Islamists is to quote the Qu’ran, Hadith and scholars verbatim. Fundamentalist Islam is vicious, intolerant and intellectually moribund. The more people hear what it’s really like and not the bollocks you get from Al-Beeb etc then the more repulsed they will be. The more Muslims hear what we are like the more attracted they will be.

    Islam (unlike many other religions) seems to have pretty much no redeeming features. The biggest danger of the mullahs getting away with it comes not from them or even from our tolerance but from our cultural self-delusion of moral relavitism and that has nothing to do with buildings…

  9. Pa Annoyed says:

    Well, I’ve made my view known over at Samizdata (again). But every now and then you do get an issue like that, where all the fine libertarian principles go out of the window over some issue of raw emotion. Human nature, I’m afraid.

    Nick, I agree. The answer is and always has been to argue back. To let everybody know what they’re up to and what they’re about. And then to let everybody say what they think about it, without any of this bloody PC nonsense. You have to take our Enlightenment culture out there and stand up for it, as the best thing people have ever come up with.

    The problem is not that the Muslims build minarets, but that the Swiss don’t.

  10. RAB says:

    Well chaps, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I think if the people of Switzerland want to have their country look the way they want it, if they dont want the glaring supremacist structures of an alien culture staring them in the face and mocking them every day, then they are entitled to say no to them.
    Leave deep Libertarian principles aside here, this isn’t what this is about.
    This is Islam using our Liberalism, our live and let live against us. This is, as Pexpat used to say, the drip drip drip of encroachment. Pushing the envelope a little more day by day.
    It is like the little girl who turned up at school fully Burkaised with her brother, looking to start an arguement and a legal case.

    And yes I certainly agree Pa, we should be free to take our arguements free of PC dogma right back to them. To ridicule and even insult them. I have always been a believer in “Sticks and Stones” myself.

    But we are not free to do that are we? Our Govt has passed draconian hate speech laws that are against not even hate speech, but mild disapproval. If you say that you think Islam is a crock and big Mo a warmongering paedophile, you are likely to be visited by the Old Bill. But they on the other hand can call for our troops to be killed and our citizens told to moderate their behaviour in front of their religious places, like the pork butcher across the road from a mosque being told to not display pork in his window (this actually happened in Bristol) because it offends them. The pork butchers has been there for 150 years, but the mosque for two.

    So how do we take the fight back to them, when our own Governments wont let us, let alone those in Muslim countries?

    I have been to Turkey a lot, and have friends there. It is a muslim country, but I can show you a picture of a butchers shop window in Fetyethe that has the carcasses of pigs hanging right across it. Nobody objects, nobody stones the windows or goes to the police, if they are good muslims they just dont eat pork. The mere sight of it doesn’t send them into a rage there for some reason, so why does it here?
    Well because the synthetic and simulated rage is to see how much they can get away with. How much more of the rock face of Western civilisation they can chip away today. Then a bit more tomorrow… and on and on. Their game plan is long.
    Who knew we already had Sharia courts operating in Britain until it was exposed in the newspapers? Our Govt knew, but certainly didn’t ask us if it was ok to have two systems of Law operating at once.

    So back to the minarets. It is a try on. Mosques dont need them in the age of wristwatches, so why are they wanting to build them?
    Purely for the symbolism and a poke in the eye to us. They are allowed to build mosques, they are allowed to worship as they please, but if we try to do the same in the country they have inexplicably left to enjoy the benefits of ours, we will be persecuted, imprisoned or even executed.

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
    Good on the Swiss for telling them to shove it!

  11. Monoi says:

    Nick M, “The Swiss just dealt Muslims a court card for their hand in victimhood poker and as we all know they are World class at that”.

    The victimhood poker only works for the same people who would not object to minarets, except until now they were the ones deciding for the majority who is now officially against.

    As has been said earlier, libertarian principles are all well and good but when the opposition end game is to destroy libertarianism…

  12. Nick M says:

    But those are the people who are in charge. They are not called the *ruling* elite for no reason.

    I think you correctly identify the real fight here. It’s with our own governments and media and academia… The minarets are a side issue – really. It makes the Swiss look like they are running scared. Let Islam run itself in all it’s depraved ways and then you got toothsome meat for the likes of the Kitty Kounters to rip into. Islam is a ramshackle collection of old pony and should be trated it as such. Treating it as a cancer or some great Satanic power almost glamourises it. It is no hyperbole that I think – in Europe at least – The MoToons of Doom and Teddy of Terror proved a bigger wake-up call than 9/11, 7/7 or Madrid because it showed how ludicrous Islamic attitudes are.

  13. RAB says:

    Oh sure our fight is, and always will be, with our self chosen ruling elites.

    This is what the great and the good have to say about it.

    I almost expect someone will demand that they vote again and get it “Right” this time, just like Ireland and the Lisbon Treaty.

  14. NickM says:

    Thanks for that RAB,

    I rather like the phrase, “expressing outright concern”. What they gonna do? Write a letter to The Guardian?

    There’s also ‘”a bit scandalised” by the ban’ which is a beaut.

    And finally:

    ‘This vote is “testimony to the fears at the heart of the Swiss population – and Europe in general – towards Islamic integration”‘

    Utterly 100% the wrong way round. It’s fears of Islamic non-integration!

  15. Locke says:

    “I could care less ”

    Fuck me.
    RAB, It`s “I COULDN`T care less” (apologies if you`re an American gentleman).

    Anyway, I say good on the swiss for being xenophobic and anti-freedom. It`s the way forward.

  16. RAB says:

    Well pikin up poepl on their spelin mistakes is the last refuge of a scoudrell in my bok pal!
    I have a friend, initials PM, whose spelling isn’t as good as he’d like it to be either, but he can think you under the table.

    And so can I.

  17. CountingCats says:

    Anyway, I say good on the swiss for being xenophobic and anti-freedom. It`s the way forward.

    Locke, well, given the nature of your favourite belief system, I guess I am not at all surprised to hear you saying that. It’s pretty par for the course.

  18. Monoi says:

    Nick M, I think I may have been unclear.

    Of course, the people despairing of the results are the ruling “elite”. They are also the ones who are influenced by the poker game of victimhood.

    At last, the majority of people who are not impressed by the victimhood angle have been able to express themselves.

    So in my opinion, the poker game had no traction and will have none.

  19. Nick M says:

    I get your point but I think you are overly optimitic. Yes it is good that the Swiss went against their ruling class (unlike say the Irish) but the fat lady hasn’t even got out of the taxi let alone started warming-up.

    There is (how many times does need to be repeated) nothing xenophobic about a dislike of Islam anymore than disliking Obama because he’s a Marxist is racism. They are different things.

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