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Thread: Switzerland bans minarets

  1. #26
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Pretty remarkable bit of thinking here. It seems that, in order to prevent the spread of extremist Islamism and encourage the assimilation of the Muslim community, the Swiss are choosing to do everything within their power to make sure the Muslim population feels isolated and excluded from Swiss political culture. Well done!
    Great quote, Dan, and while I mentioned it in another post, I'll repeat it again here - the VAST majority of Muslims in Switzerland now are from the Balkans, and came to Switzerland during the bloody Balkan Wars of the 90's. The descendants of these folks have been in Europe (primarily what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) for centuries and are quite "European" in looks, culture, and values (I've been to Sarajevo, and it has a LOT more in common with Paris or Amsterdam than it does Riyadh or Tehran or even Istanbul). The risk of alienating these people seems pretty high.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    Great quote, Dan, and while I mentioned it in another post, I'll repeat it again here - the VAST majority of Muslims in Switzerland now are from the Balkans, and came to Switzerland during the bloody Balkan Wars of the 90's. The descendants of these folks have been in Europe (primarily what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) for centuries and are quite "European" in looks, culture, and values (I've been to Sarajevo, and it has a LOT more in common with Paris or Amsterdam than it does Riyadh or Tehran or even Istanbul). The risk of alienating these people seems pretty high.
    I agree. Though 20 percent of Switzerland's Muslims are Turkish (50 plus percent are form the Balkans) which is not insignificant. Still, many Turks view themselves as more European than Middle Eastern. This is a longstanding issue for Turkey (Constantinople vs Istanbul and all that) who has been trying to join the EU for some time. Regardless, I think the nature of Islamic culture in Switzerland is distinct from the Middle Eastern communities most Americans think of.
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  3. #28

    islam changes culture

    Islam does change culture. Those who were previously Hindu was not aware of this, and are in trouble.

    things like wearing headdress for women, certain rule of dressing, and some other restrictions are now become a conflict.

    My question is what can you contribute to stop the Arabic culture influence to dominate in that population.

  4. #29
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I agree. Though 20 percent of Switzerland's Muslims are Turkish (50 plus percent are form the Balkans) which is not insignificant. Still, many Turks view themselves as more European than Middle Eastern. This is a longstanding issue for Turkey (Constantinople vs Istanbul and all that) who has been trying to join the EU for some time. Regardless, I think the nature of Islamic culture in Switzerland is distinct from the Middle Eastern communities most Americans think of.
    The Muslim world is incredibly diverse and has many differentiations around the globe that I have seen from Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, and the U.S. I think Switzerland's move to ban minarets has more to do with a forced assimilation mindset not unlike France's which banned headscarves in schools. At least they were up front about their reasoning saying they wanted schools to remain secular and for people to assimilate. What's the difference between a masjid's minaret and a church's steeple?
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #30
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    What's the difference between a masjid's minaret and a church's steeple?
    From an zoning and legal perspective in the United States, none. They both are structurally similar, and for the most part functionally identical. There are architectural differences between a traditional minaret and a steeple, but steeple design is quite varied depending on the the architectural style and denomination of a church. A steeple and minaret of the same size and height would have a similar visual impact. The sound of a call to prayer of the same duration, frequency and volume as bells has the same impact.

    One thing the ban brings to mind: zoning codes in the US often have exceptions to height limitations for steeples. Codes should be changed to include minarets, or at least interpreted as such, just as codes defining and permitting "churches" are interpreted as including all places of worship, not just those for Christian denominations.

    Quote Originally posted by malaiqut View post
    Islam does change culture. Those who were previously Hindu was not aware of this, and are in trouble.

    things like wearing headdress for women, certain rule of dressing, and some other restrictions are now become a conflict.

    My question is what can you contribute to stop the Arabic culture influence to dominate in that population.
    In the United States, where there are no restrictions on Muslim practices and dress, those who have immigrated from Muslim countries have generally assimilated into the larger American culture as have immigrants from other countries. Although there is some discrimination by individuals, there is no official policy that marginalizes Muslims or those from predominantly Muslim countries. Immigrants from Muslim countries in the US have kept their faith, but they are mostly productive middle-class citizens. I would say the same is also true of Muslim immigrants to Canada. In the US, Muslims have not tried to impose their cultural values on the greater society (e.g. demands for laws requiring modest dress), but they will likely flavor it through music, food and language, just like immigrant groups before them.

    In the US and Canada, though, there is a lower percentage of Muslim immigrants among all other groups entering the country. Also, the US and Canada aren't countries defined by a shared ethnic heritage, religion or skin color, but rather as liberal democracies with the rule of law, where the rights of minorities are protected. If the US becomes a majority Muslim state, then the United States will be a majority Muslim liberal constitutional democracy. One constant throughout history: the dominant religion of a region is never constant. As long as my right to practice Judaism remains, I'd be a proud American regardless of whether the dominant faith is Christianity, Islam, or worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #31
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    I also recall a USA federal court ruling a few years ago that said that Muslim 'call to prayer' announcements from mosque minarets are legally identical to ringing bells at Christian churches.

    That said, Europe is facing a challenge of how to deal with an influx of Muslim immigration, much of which is a legacy of European colonial efforts of a century or more earlier. France, for example, once included several now independent majority Muslim African nations as actual departments of metropolitan France - complete with free movement between them and the rest of France. There is a large heavily unassimilated population of Algerian Muslims in suburban Paris, for example, and there have been civil authority problems in that area. Thus the French headscarf ban and the now hard lines on trying to assimilate them into the larger French culture.

    Reconciling a growing Islamic population and a declining population of 'Christian' Europeans will be the BIG challenge of Europe throughout the rest of the 21st Century.

    Mike

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