There are 4 mosques with minarets in Switzerland. On Sunday, a referendum vote, forced by the right wing nationalist Swiss Peoples Party, won a surprising 57% majority to oppose the buikding of any new minarets in Switzerland.
The poster above is just one of the threatening, Islamaphobic images that were used to maipulate the electorate. The Swiss Peoples Party argued that the minaret is not a religious symbol, but a political symbol that was a harbinger of Muslims demanding Sharia law in Switzerland.
There are about 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland representing about 5% of the population. Most of the Muslims are of Eastern European, Balkan origin and are assimilated but the Swiss Peoples party which has gained steadily in elections in the last few years has played on the racist fears of the population. They say NO to immigrants in general. There has even been pieces in the French media lately referring to anti French prejudice thaqt is beginning to surface over the thousands of frech who live in France and work in Switzerland.
The Swiss government opposed the ban. They felt it was scapegoating a portion of the population and creating problems where none existed. Many Swiss have expressed fears that a public ban like this would only draw the wrath of the Islamic Fundamentalists...
Actions, like this always have unintended results. In France, the law banning headscarves on women in school and the attempt at banning the burkha, has only radicalized a segment of the population. The number of women in France wearing burkhas was less than 200.
The most interesting detail regarding the women wearing burkhas was that they are all second or third generation French citizens, who have taken up the practice in a sort of fundamentalist rebellion against the prejudice and racism in French society.
Now, the Front National, the far right nationalist party here in france and the Far right party in Holland have both been empowered by the Swiss vote and are making noises that they would like to see minarets banned here and in Holland.
Again, a group of power hungry opportunists exploit an issue and persecute a group for their immediate gain...are they ready to accept the blame for the unintended consequences?