The editorial ‘Bigotry in Switzerland’ (Dec 4), was a correct analysis of the recent Swiss ban on building of minarets. Indeed, intellectuals all over the world are perturbed over Switzerland’s rabidly anti-Muslim move, which has greatly tarnished the image of the country as a champion of global human rights and stalwart of neutrality.
The move to ban further building of minarets, which already do not exist except a mere four, is being widely read as a new chapter in the contemporary Islamophobic history of Europe. The deep malaise of Islamophobia, which is being perpetually impregnated in the European masses through direct assaults on Islamic symbols and practices, not only represents a dangerous trend in hate politics but is also extremely potent of fuelling divisiveness and possibly terror. The illogical pretext catered to by the Swiss authorities of minarets being symbols of political Islam defies logic let alone a reason for banning them in a secular country where there are many more spires atop Gothic churches and Stars of David on synagogues.
Yasir Malik, New Delhi That Switzerland has voted in favour of such a move is a surprising and worrisome development. This will only further lead to marginalisation of Muslims in Switzerland. One only hopes that this does not further go to the extent of infringement of individual liberties in the country.
N.A. Mansoor Ali,
The editorial aptly used the term ‘bigot’ as the ban underlines the animosity deep in the European people towards Islam, who project themselves as advocates of human rights and secularism. It is ironical that the same people criticise the Taliban for social atrocities when they cannot prevent the same in their own backyard. It is high time these countries gave a real meaning to the term ‘secularism.’
Mohammad Sana Akhtar,
Islamophobia is not merely a product of religious prejudice. There is a demographic angle to it. The fertility rate of native populations is falling in Europe. Therefore, there is a natural fear of its being swamped by immigrants. Since Muslims constitute the largest religious minority in Europe, they have to bear the brunt of discrimination. Another reason for mistrust is the inability of the Muslim community to strike a fine balance between religious exclusiveness and cultural assimilation in the host countries.
The hue and cry over the ban of minarets in Switzerland is understandable. But the graveness of the outcome of the referendum pales before the treatment meted out to non-Muslims in Islamic countries. The mainstream liberal media fail to take note of this fact. The yardsticks ought to be the same for everyone.
Arun Joseph K.,
How many Middle Eastern Muslim countries readily permit construction of churches and temples in their territories? After all, in human affairs, reciprocity is the grease which keeps the wheel of human interaction moving without friction. Moreover, it must be pointed out that the proposed ban on minarets was voted on by a majority and that is what democracy is all about, isn’t it?