Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Suisse Reciprocity

Earlier this month, the Suisse (Swiss, for Anglophiles) passed a constitutional referendum that banned the further construction of minarets in their country. The new amendment does not affect the existing 4 minarets, or the existing 150 mosques, it just halts the construction of any additional minarets.

Now, out-cry against this amendment passing was wide-spread. This included such strange bed fellows as the politically correct left wing, and Fundamentalist Muslim Nations, like Saudi Arabia & Iran (who do not allow the construction of ANY churches of ANY religion other than the one the state sanctions) and political pundits, like The Daily Show. Originally, I had a negative initial reaction to the news of the law passing, with the random man-on-the-street reports in Zurich, Basel, Bern and elsewhere that I saw or heard on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR et al, where they picked The Most racist, most negative, most sensational citizens to interview.

Then today, I get an email from my friend John, a kindly engineer retiree with whom I regularly correspond. He's a Francophile / Francophone / former Vietnam Vet officer who splits his time between SE France and Florida each year, and a rather enlightened chap. He was applauding the passage... which took me off-guard and aback... so I did some digging on Google, and found this helpful Lexis-Nexis article (link here), which helps to put the hypocrisy in perspective.

The one time I thought I would have to go to Saudi Arabia for work years ago, and saw all of the affidavits you have to make & sign, and pledges to NOT bring in Bibles or to proselytize... it was appalling. Not that I would... but to have to sign a legal document saying you know you cannot do it, and if you do it is punishable severely under the law (up to, and including Capital punishment) was as over-board as Senator Ensign of Nevada defending the sanctity of marriage, or Senator Larry Craig of Idaho railing against the evils of homosexuality. Why you so vocal and afraid of it, hmmmm boys?

So when Saudi Arabia and Iran and other theocratic dictatorships allow the free and open building of religious places of worship and preaching of any religion within their borders (including Atheism, which is punishable by death), the Suisse should again revise their constitution to allow the building of minarets.

I think that is fair.


  1. Dunno if I can stomach the reciprocity argument, Joe. The Swiss law seems just plain wrong. The hypocrisy or idiocy of the people opposing it has nothing to do with that.

    That's one thing America has going for it: neither the Swiss law nor the Saudi theocracy would be tolerable under our Bill of Rights...unless the Supreme Court starts looking more and more like the Scalia-Roberts-Thomas composition it's been trending toward for years.

  2. I can't abide your argument, either. We're supposed to applaud the Swiss being intolerant, xenophobic, petty, provincial pricks because somewhere else there's a different group of intolerant, xenophobic, petty, provincial pricks? That makes no sense. That's a sink-to-their-level/lowest-common-denominator/race-to-the-bottom mentality. We should be better than that. So should the Swiss. Their anti-minaret referendum is an embarrassment and they should be ashamed (and many are, believe me). You should not be applauding it.

  3. I understand it. I am not Suisse, and I did not vote for it, but I understand it.

    If I was a devout Atheist, and living in Iran or S.Arabia, proclaiming my "faith", I would be executed. If I was a devout anything-except-Wahhabi Sunni in S.Arabia, I would be jailed, tortured, and probably killed, for proclaiming my faith. Likewise, in Iran, if I was anything other than Shia.

    My understanding of the minaret argument, is that minarets are the tip of the ice berg only. Sharia law, in its various forms (as interpreted by fundamentalist sects) is also creeping into Suisse society within Muslim communities, for the punishment of adulterers, division of marital property, custody of children, who-can-divorce whom, etc, while the mainstream Suisse (and other Euro societies) stand by and watch it happen.

    The central issue which these governmental actions fail to address is the failure of Muslims to integrate into the existent society. Even the US Supreme court decided that separate is not equal. Islands of contrasting cultures are a permanent seed of discontent, whether Hispanic, Muslim, or Jewish. When ANY group separates itself from others it makes a statement, "We are different; we are better".

    My parents integrated into the US societies of Hammond, East Chicago, and Calumet City. They taught their children English, and made sure we respected and adhered to local laws. Yes, there are some cultural aspects they retained, but they did not broadcast them loudly to others, think they were better than others, or try to impose their "better" form of societal interpretation on others.

    And I still think it is better that the Suisse did it, rather than the Danes (OMG, a cartoon to cause riots? WETF?) or the Brits or Spanish (who have already been attacked by fundamentalists), or the French (who recently banned Burquas photos for passports). Sharia banking (charge no interest) will Never fly in Switzerland. =)

  4. "Tip of the iceberg" arguments are illogical, fallacious bullshit and you know it. Minarets. Give me a fucking break. And the Swiss don't wipe their asses without a referendum. Try mowing your lawn in Switzerland on a Sunday and then peddle scare stories about Sharia law creeping in on little cat paws. Tip of the iceberg! Hey, freedom of religion is the mother of all iceberg tips. You want to cheer efforts to ban that?

  5. Calm =)
    Frohliche Weinachten, Joyeaux Noel, Buon Natale, as well. =)

    They did not ban the Muslim religion, nor did they ban the building of Mosques (of which there are 150 in Suisse). Freedom of religion is alive and well in Suisse, as far as I know.

    And again, I did not applaud, or cheer it. I understood it. I do not condemn it as you and JoeM so adamantly do, but I understand it.

    I hope you enjoy the confit, and the goose that sounds absolutely delicious. Traci is cooking a ham here (which is NOT a Smithfield Ham, after we watched Food Inc) =P

  6. I tend to agree with Ron. And I get tired of the whole "If I were a Christian in that country I'd be executed" line. Fucktardery is fucktardery...whether it's muslim or civil fucktardery doesn't matter to me. I'm not going to argue about the relative degree of idiocy here: they're both wrong by my book.

    And if the Swiss had a bill of rights and the secular civil society to enforce it, they wouldn't need to worry about creeping sharia law. Anyone trying to pull that kind of crap in, say, California (beating his wife for immodesty, etc) would end up on Cops.

  7. The Swiss do have civil law. You can't murder your daughter there just because she's dishonored you. Non-Swiss really do have very limited rights in Switzerland. They don't get to vote on laws. There is no threat.

    Since I lived in Switzerland for over 2 years, I have earned the right to be agitated by them when they pull stuff like this :-)


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