29 November 2009

Central Europe's Disturbing Intolerance

It seems a truism that inland regions are less tolerant. People who live on coasts around ports have been continually exposed to a variety of skin colors, religious persuasions, cultures, and lifestyles. Fewer people come through Nebraska than New York or San Francisco; fewer people come through Serbia than England. Insularity seems to make people intolerant rather than curious.

Which brings us to Switzerland's stunning vote to ban "the construction of minarets, the towers that typically stand adjacent to mosques and serve to issue the Muslim call to prayer."

The Swiss speak four languages and would seem a model of diversity, but it is also worth remembering that it wasn't until 1971 that they granted women the right to vote. These are not progressives.

So I guess one ought not to be surprised that the Swiss felt threatened by the construction of Muslim edifices. Muslims, of course, make up nearly 4% of their population and are obviously a threat to the country's laws and mores.

It seems to me, though, that the Swiss have got it backwards. Rather than ban the construction of minarets, they should insist that every Muslim household build one atop their domicile, making it easy for anyone else to see where they are. And once they've done that, I see no reason why they couldn't require Muslims to wear tattoos on their forearms.

If they want to borrow from the playbook of religious intolerance, Central Europe has plenty of examples to draw from. If they are heading down that path, they should know better than to ban the symbols of religious difference that could, instead, be used to identify minorities.

6 comments:

Lifehiker said...

Muslim's in Europe are the counterpart to Mexicans in the U.S. Nations let them in to do the work "natives" won't do, but when the immigrants are vilified by many when they become implanted. They are supposed to be invisible and go home when they're not needed.

We can't have it both ways. If we let immigrants in, their cultures come with them.

Jen said...

Wow. Do you know what sharia law is, Ron? Do you know that sharia law is currently practiced in the UK, Denmark, and Deerborne, Michigan? Check it out. It's more than a little bit interesting.

If you're in the mood to read, check this guy out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Bouyeri

He brutally killed (shot 8 times, stabbed twice, and sliced his throat, nearly decapitating) a man who made a documentary film that was critical of the domestic abuse that is so very common among radical muslims.


I don't know any Mexican immigrants to decapitate people for criticizing their native religion. But maybe I just haven't met any radical Mexican Catholics yet.

Jen said...

I wonder who will jump to say that I hate all Muslims?? Well, I don't.


Maybe we've been so indoctrinated to fear being accused of being intolerant, that we are now being willfully blind to the reality before us. When a political religion demands that local governments change and adapt to reflect religious law, I think it's time to take notice.

Ron Davison said...

LH,
One parallel there could be that these people are partly coming for economic opportunities and partly leaving behind failed states.

Jen,
I agree that it is awful for communities in the West to adopt Sharia law. I don't think that you hate Muslims for rejecting the idea of Muslim (or any religious) law for a community. And I simply don't see the connection between that and a ban on constucting minarets. It reminds me of the non sequitur of lynching after a heinous crime by a black or attacking Iraq after 9-11. I am clueless about how rightful outrage at the one would ever trigger the other.

Jen said...

This is not really about contructing minarets. It's about rejecting a political religion that oppresses the culture that surrounds it.

This is about the Swiss having the right to defend their freedom. Who are we to say they can't make their own laws?

How utterly arrogant.

Yes, the Swiss may be cultural bigots in this case, but in the long run, it may well protect them from the disintegration of their own culture and protect them from the threat of terror that the UK faces. Look at the mess that London and Paris now face. They're up to their necks in dhimmitude.

Radical Islam is the MOST backward bigotted "religion" on earth, and the only way to deal with it is on it's terms...unfortunately.

You're dealing with people who insist that their women wear black sacks over their heads and walk five feet behind the men. Allah forbid the woman get out of line, her man might act in accordance with the Koran and beat the unholy sh*t out of her.

Misogyny reigns in islam.

:sigh:

I'm done.

Lifehiker said...

I can sympathize with both Ron and Jen.

We've got minarets here in Rochester and they haven't killed anybody yet; banning them seems silly.

But, when people immigrate into another culture, they must accept the basic structures of that culture. For example, try bringing alcohol or a Bible into Saudi Arabia... Black sacks and Sharia law don't belong here or in Switzerland, either.