Minarets

At present there is an initiative up for votation this month that wants to forbid the construction of minarets in the country. I read a rather good column on Der Bund paper version today written by Rudolf Strahm that sketches the history of the moslem migration to Switzerland. Yes, it is called migration. Yes private sector interests were involved, and these were fueled by greed. Go read the column, get some facts straight, and then think.

This reminds me of a story that a friend of mine once told me when we were either in Salt, Jordan or some other place a few kilometers from there. Anyhow, the place has both christian and moslem worship places, and the story went that one demonstration of power was to see who had the highest tower, the christians or the moslems. Then I think of all the towers scattered through Bologna or Venice, and my perverted imagination tells me that once more we are discussing phallic symbols. Umberto Eco would undoubtedly agree with me, but really, the whole thing is ridiculous.

What is this minaret initiative about? Discrimination, religious discrimination. This is evil, this is bad, this initiative is to be fought and defeated. This is how it starts, and the process is not pretty. Hate symbols are created and propagated, then dehumanization, mobs, polarization. When things get really ugly then the mobs start death lists and then extermination is planned. It lands in genocide.

For those who need a refresher here is the Universal Human Rights Declaration of 1948. If that was not enough, go to the European Convention on Human Rights that you can read in German (French, Italian also available). It might not hurt to have a look at the Swiss Constitution while you are at it.

Use your right to vote to make a positive contribution. I think a few minarets and a few modern mosques might be a very positive contribution to the architectural landscape of the country. Discrimination is the unjust and unequal treatment of diversity.

I do not know about you, but I have the fondest memories of exploring Venice with my son when he was just a little boy and climbing one tower after the other. Actually we worked a compromise, for each tower he wanted to climb, we got to go to a museum that I wanted to go to . This way he discovered Mondrian before he could read, and I the joys of stair climbing. Still, I think that this bit of the phallic symbols is a good contest to have!

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