From Amy Goodman’s Marxist slanted Democracy Now! program, comes a report out of Switzerland which describes how voters in that country have overwhelmingly approved a referendum banning the construction of minarets on Muslim places of worship. Goodman, describing the referendum as being an effort sponsored by “two right-wing parties,” gives Democracy Now!’s version of what transpired:
Swiss voters have overwhelmingly approved a referendum banning the construction of minarets on Muslim places of worship. The referendum was sponsored by two right-wing parties. Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims and has just four minarets. A campaign poster in support of the ban depicted a woman in a burqa in front of a row of minarets shaped like missiles. Oxford University professor Tariq Ramadan, who is a Swiss citizen, said “The Swiss majority are sending a clear message to their Muslim fellow citizens: we do not trust you and the best Muslim for us is the Muslim we cannot see.” Amnesty International said the vote to ban minarets violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights.
There is so much to take issue with in Goodman’s report that a weighty tome could be written in response to that one paragraph. One could, for example, question the decision to solicit the opinion of Tariq Ramadan on the issue.
Ramadan, you may recall, was the same individual who characterized the 9/11 attacks, the October 2002 Bali nightclub attack, and the March 2004 Madrid train bombings as “interventions,” rather than acts of terrorism. He has a deep-seated hatred of the West and Israel, is the founder of a Swiss Islamo-fascist organization called the “Movement of Swiss Muslims,” and has exhorted Muslim youth “to Islamize modernity rather than modernize Islam.”
One could also question Goodman’s use of the specious argument put forth by Amnesty International, which characterizes the Swiss vote banning minarets as a “violation of religious freedom.” A curious argument coming from an organization that remains strangely silent on the issue of religious freedom in the Islamic world, where it is forbidden to build a church of any kind in countries such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (where Christians may not even set foot in many areas for fear of being executed).
We will leave those questions for another time. It will prove much more interesting to have a look at two key points which Goodman completely fails to mention in her report:
1) The Swiss vote was democratic; and
2) The largest group of voters turning out to vote against the minarets was not “right-wing” xenophobes, but leftist, feminist women!
In considering point number one, it is surprising that an organization that took pains to name itself “Democracy Now!” would leave that out of its report. The Swiss vote, however, was democratic. The fact that it produced a result different from that deemed politically correct is irrelevant.
The second point is even more interesting:
Post-election polls revealed that the Swiss would have rejected the ban were it not for feminist involvement: 39% of women were in favor of the ban, as opposed to 31% of men.
Why is that?
Radical feminists argued that the tower-like structures are “male power symbols” and reminders of Islam’s oppression of women. Socialist politicians were also fearful at the prospect of the minarets being built; one exclaiming that she felt that their construction would be “a signal of the state’s acceptance of the oppression of women.”
But the issue seems to have struck a nerve in a broad specturm of Swiss women, and not just Socialists and radical feminists. Julia Werner, a housewife, put it this way:
If we give them a minaret, they’ll have us all wearing burqas. Before you know it, we’ll have Sharia law and women being stoned to death in our streets. We won’t be Swiss any more.
Predictably, the Muslim world is enraged over the vote, and if the furor over the Danish newspaper cartoons portraying Mohammed three years ago is anything to go by, the Swiss are in for a rough time.