Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Concept of Swiss Secular State Tarnished by Decision To Ban Minarets

Nations do not die because of lack of their inheritors, they die when they lose their identity and character. This only happens when the awareness campaigns in them die down and the buds of thinking in them turn dry. No honorable nation accepts attack on its civilization and culture. When the attacks is not only on the civilization and culture but on the Islamic traits than the honor of the faith demands that it should be resisted, condemned and should be protected against.

Intellectual or Practical Resistance
No intellectual or practical resistance at the popular level was witnessed when decision was taken to ban minarets in Switzerland. So much so that like the drone attacks initially there was no mentionable reaction in Pakistan on the referendum in Switzerland on the issue of minarets. However God may be kind to Hafiz Abu Bakr Saddique, convener World Council for Islamic Civilization and Culture (WCICC).
First he organized it a brief intellectual sitting under the WCICC. Soon he started the practical and intellectual resistance against ban on the minarets in Switzerland by organizing a comprehensive conference at the Islamabad Hotel. It was soon spread to the whole of the country and in this was those who speak and understand the truth put a spirit into it. The work was not done by any big organizations and association. This commendable job was done with wisdom of the faithful and strategy by world Council for Islamic Civilization and Culture. The people of every sphere of life and sect are participating in it.
It is surprising and regrettable that +Switzerland, where the decision of ban on minarets of the mosques came up, is a beautiful country of Europe. In the present age this country has been centre of basic human rights, personal and citizen liberties, peace and harmony and most of the intellectual and welfare movements. Because of Switzerland's non involvement in any war since 1915 and its religious, political and democratic norms the offices of many international organizations including Red Cross, World Economic Forum and World Trade organization are situated here.
Due to its natural scenery, its geography, and location, this country of 7.5 million people is enviable in whole of Europe. Two hundred and fifty thousand tourists come to Switzerland only from the Muslim countries. Because of their strict laws the banks Switzerland are considered the most secure financial institutions of the world. That is the reason that besides other countries of the world, the people of Europe too are always eager to live in Switzerland.

Referendum Rejected
In the year 2000 the socialist and far left parties started a campaign to ban permanent residence to the citizens of the foreign countries in their country. As a result there was a referendum which was rejected by the people. Presently there are about four hundred thousand Muslims in Switzerland. Most of them are Turks or Bosnians. According to the New York Times there are about 150 mosques from the Muslims all over the country. Only four of these mosques have minarets.
There are important incidents in the background of recent campaign with regard to the ban on minarets of mosques in Switzerland. This issue was made basis of campaign sometimes the Swiss People's Party and sometimes by other parties of the right wing. They run the campaign for years. These people base their campaign on the thinking that minarets of the mosques are in fact symbol of the religious and political power. In this regard they have continuously been quoting a 1997 speech of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in which he had said that mosques are our barracks, their dooms are helmets of our heads and minarets are our spears and the faithful are our soldiers.

Committed Mission
Swiss racists and extremists have very shrewdly been presenting the contents of this speech with their explanations. In this regard the Swiss People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union have been committed to their mission with all of their energies since long.
Formally the dispute over the minarets of mosques was started in 2005 when the Turk Culture Association in northern Switzerland asked for permission for the construction of six high minarets of the Islamic Community centre. The Swiss citizens residing nearby areas strongly opposed it. The local institutions delayed the permission for the construction of the minaret because of the opposition of the local residents and the local institutions. Al last the Kunal building and planning commission rejected the application on which the Islamic Community Centre appealed in the Building and Justice Department which was accepted.
The local Swiss residents took the case to the local administrative court where they failed. Even the federal Supreme Court upheld the decision of the local court. At last the Islamic Community Centre was able to construct the six meter high minaret in July 2006 after winning a long judicial and legal war. The incident provoked the local Swiss residents so much that with the help of racist and religious parties they started to reorganize the long struggle. Occasionally referendums are held in Switzerland on different problems and issues. Under the Swiss laws the government is obliged to hold referendum if a political party or an institutions gets the signatures of one hundred thousand persons on any issue.

Judicial Decision and Construction of Minaret
The Swiss People's Party started its campaign against judicial decision and construction of minaret in the Islamic Community Centre in a new way. To get signatures for the referendum the started propaganda that the minarets of mosques were symbols of political power of the Muslims and Shariah and they do not abide by the Swiss legal system. They published highly objectionable posters against the Muslims. In one poster a Muslim women was presented wearing abaya head to toe dress worn by some Muslim women and veil. In addition to her picture there were pictures of many minarets of mosques which resembled missiles.
The Swiss People's Party showed another poster in which the minarets of mosques were tearing the Swiss flag. Hundreds of thousands of these posters and pictures were spread all over the country in the shape of banners, hangers and pamphlets. At last after eighteen months the Swiss People's Party and other extremist's parties were able to get hundred thousand signatures for the referendum. As a result the Swiss government had to call referendum on 29 November 2009 on the issue of banning the construction of minarets of the mosques.
The people around the world were thinking that this campaign against the construction of minarets of mosques was demand of a few Christian religious fundamentalists because it did not have the support of the Swiss government. However the world was surprised to see the result of the referendum. The majority of the Swiss voters voted in support of the ban on construction of minarets of mosques. The vote against religious liberties of Muslims has severely damaged the concept of secular state of Switzerland.

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