Thursday, 13 March 2008

One-sided blindness of Muslim leaders

A conference of the world's 57 islamic countries has put Switzerland on a black list of the most islamophobic countries, together with Denmark (Mohammed cartoons), the Netherlands (Koran-critic film), and Austria (anti-islamic statements of a far-right party). The reason against Switzerland is a popular initiative for a minaret ban, pushed by our right-wing Swiss People's Party.

I am the last one to support an islamic view of anything on this planet. This said, I also state that I support this particular view of the islamic conference: I think that islamophobia is a threat to the world's security. The reason is simple. Islamophobia strengthens Islam, above all the rigid, terror-oriented forms of this religion. And islamophobia blocks the inter-cultural dialogue which may help to promote a more moderate form of this religion.

Therefore, I am strictly against a minaret ban in Switzerland. We are a secular democracy. We have freedom of religion. We have Christian church steeples, thus Muslims should have the equal right to build minarets as long as they respect the building regulations.

There is another point. Minarets beside church steeples emphasize the relativity of faith. They strengthen the view that religions are parts of different cultures and not absolute values. Plurality helps deconversion and freethought. Thus, I don't think that the construction of some minarets in Switzerland will lead to a higher influence of religions as a whole.

And what about steeples in Saudi Arabia?

But I cannot help wondering about the one-sided blindness of Muslim leaders. They claim the right to build minarets anywhere in the world but deny the according right to other religions in their own countries. Church steeples in Saudi Arabia, unlike minarets in Switzerland, are beyond every dispute. They are unthinkable. My comment: Better stop whining about islamophobia and respect the golden rule of religious plurality!

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