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The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

The Swiss Ban Minarets

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The banning of minarets appears to be a cowardly move that contradicts Swiss commitments to religious freedom and tolerance. Singling out minarets in this ban is tantamount to isolating Islam and relegating it to second-class status – all protests to the contrary notwithstanding. The Muslim minaret is the central architectural symbol of Islam, as recognizably Muslim as steeples with crosses are recognizably Christian. Any nation that is truly committed to religious liberty cannot sustain a ban on one religiously significant architectural symbol or structure in this manner.The receding influence of Christianity in Switzerland can be traced directly to theological liberalism in its churches and the increasing secularity of Swiss culture. Islam now enters the void created by the decline of Christianity and Christian culture in Switzerland, and throughout much of the continent as well.

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Banning the minaret may serve to hide Muslim influence from view, but it does not address the underlying issues at stake. Surely the Swiss can do better than this. >With this measure they have managed to violate religious liberty, anger Muslims, and avoid dealing with reality – all in one simultaneous act. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a respectable or sustainable policy.

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