Many have criticized the Swiss move to ban the building of new minarets. I applaud the just, fair and open-minded attitude of those who condemn discrimination against religion and the majority bullying of a minority.
That is why I heartily look forward to these same critics enthusiastically raising the issue of other offending governments around the world.
After all, the Swiss ban is only on the architectural constructions known as minarets, not actually on mosques themselves. Note that it is a Muslim leader who said the following:
“The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our swords, and the faithful are our army.” – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, current Turkish Prime Minister
By contrast, see what Christians in Muslim countries have to go through regarding the issue of churches – which has been going on for decades without any attention from most of the world.
And there exists not even a non-Muslim religious building in Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslim religions cannot be publicly practised. Not even the tiniest of their religious symbols can be portrayed. (No kidding.)
See Bobjots: Orang Asli Church Demolishment for more details.
So why haven’t there been more reactions condemning the Saudis for their gross and overarching violations of religious freedom? After all, the Swiss ban on just one nuance of Islam is fairly recent, while the Saudi ban on all aspects of non-Muslim religion is decades overdue.
Or is there, perhaps, a (gasp, shock and horror!) double standard at work here? Could it be that everyone is so outraged because this time it is a secular, First World, Western nation that is practicing discrimination, instead of the usual culprits based in various places closer to home?
Perhaps the latter are let off the hook because they’ve been practicing religious discrimination for so long – in some cases even officially state-sponsored – that we’ve come to expect and even accept it.
Compare: The French get heat for banning the burqa from only government-run schools – along with all other symbols and attire linked to any religion – under threat of legal implications for those who disobey the law.
In many other places in the world, women are arrested, flogged, ‘justly’ raped, or even killed for not wearing the burqa everywhere and at all times. In some cases even non-Muslim women are punished for not adhering to this nuance of sharia law (which is meant for Muslims). At this, the world yawns: “Same old story!”
Maybe the French need to get much more ruthlessly and frequently religiously intolerant in order to gain public indifference?
Is it just the Swiss and French being discriminatory here, or are we ourselves also showing a bias? Food for thought.