Drop Your Bombs Between the Minarets Down the Casbah Way

I am definitely torn about the recent decision in Switzerland to ban on the construction of minarets (the prayer towers of mosques), in their country. One the one hand, it was a democratically achieve decision: the government opposed it, but in a nationwide referendum 57.5% of the voters supported it, and it won in 22 out of 26 cantons. (This sort of turn out and result, by the way, is a perfect illustration of way governments and elites generally fear to place issues directly up to the voters to decide – because they might not vote the way that they’re “supposed to” and might turn in “the wrong result”. I am not opposed to the legalization of gay marriage; however, if it is to come about in this country it should come about because a majority of the citizenry support it and not because the elites seek to find a loophole to impose it upon and unwilling populace.)

Because the ban gained a majority of votes and passed in a majority of the cantons, it will be added to the Constitution. The Swiss Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the rightist Swiss People’s Party, or S.V.P., and a small religious party had proposed inserting a single sentence banning the construction of minarets, leading to the referendum. The Swiss government said it would respect the vote and sought to reassure the Muslim population – mostly immigrants from other parts of Europe, like Kosovo and Turkey – that the minaret ban was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture.”

Its interesting that the media, trying to cast the story into their usual formula, blames the referendum on a far-right party and a small religious party which totally ignored the obvious point that it was supported by the majority of voters. (Similar to the way that every popular vote on the issue of gay marriage in America as failed to support it, but the media insists upon blaming a small group of “the usual suspects” – none of whom are Muslim – every time.) Still, as a general rule, government poking its nose in where it doesn’t belong sticks in my craw. Yes, there are certainly any number of problems facing Europe over uncontrolled immigration and total lack of assimilation by Muslims, but this hardly seems like the smartest way to address it. In fact, it may be counterproductive by causing a backlash against the Swiss and making them look like they’re all “Islamophobes”, whatever that completely fictitious made-up label means today. If that occurs, then you may see other people in Europe (and America) have yet another reason to fear standing up to Islamic expansion and militarism (as if the possibility of beheading wasn’t enough) – they won’t want to be grouped in with “those haters in Switzerland.”

However, apart from all that, it must be emphasized that minarets (like burqas and female genital mutilation) have nothing to do with the religion of Islam and no basis in the Koran. Mosques with their minarets deliberately constructed to be higher than everything around them, generally specifically located to overshadow local churches or other historical/cultural sites, and blaring out the five-times-daily call to worship over huge loudspeakers (because their congregation apparently can’t be bothered to wear watches) are all about subjugation; placing Islam above everybody else and reminding everybody else that Islam is there to stay (and not to be a religion in America, but the religion in America, as CAIR reminds us).

A survey of historical placement of mosques in important cities and newly conquered Muslim lands, as well as a survey of the placement of mosques in diverse neighborhoods, shows that their placement is anything but random and that strikingly often they are built next to the houses of prayer or the neighborhoods of non-Muslims… According to architecture historian Prof. Keppel A.C. Creswell, the minaret was first developed after the Umayyad dynasty (661-750) came in contact with church towers of the Syrian Orthodox Church… The Umayyads also were the first to construct mosques atop or next to famous Christian and Jewish holy sites. In Damascus they turned the Church of St. John the Baptist into a mosque between 705 and 715… Also in Jerusalem construction was begun on the Aksa Mosque in 690. It was constructed over what had been the Church of Our Lady and before that, the Jewish Temple’s storehouse. Further afield mosques were built atop the giant Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in the 15th century by the Ottomans and the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya was constructed over the Temple of the Hindu god Ram in the 16th century by the Mughals in India. The Great Mosque of Gaza was built first in the 7th century atop a Byzantine church and then rebuilt in the 13th century atop a Crusader church. The mosque and its minaret are symbols of power. The giant brick tower of Qutb Minar in Delhi is 72 meters high and until recent times was the world’s tallest minaret. It was constructed by the sultans of Delhi to celebrate their victory and conquest of the city… The building of mosques is not always an expression of power, but historically and today in mixed communities mosques are constructed with a view toward the non-Muslim other… It becomes blatantly obvious in a community like Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem, where almost every other mosque is situated next to a Christian building or former holy site. The next time one sees a mosque, he should not take it for granted. Many of them have a history and geographical placement that is not coincidental and which serves as an expression of political Islam and its aspirations. The Jerusalem Post

So remember, the Swiss referendum did not do anything to limit the immigration of muslims nor the practice of their religion. It did not ban the construction of mosques. It merely banned the construction of a blatant symbol of Islamic imperialism and colonialism which is not in any way required by their religion itself (as opposed to the fascist expansionist political system which feeds on it) or referenced in their holy book. Think of it as a zoning dispute.

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