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.