Defending the Swiss Minaret Ban

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As the Wire covers here, the Swiss minaret ban has been blasted as fearful, bigoted, and self-defeating. But whether as a rhetorical aside or an impassioned rebuttal, there are also those defending the Swiss majority. Here are the most compelling arguments for why the ban might be justified--or at least why the ban's attackers might be overstating their case:

  • Minarets 'Redundant' in Switzerland The Telegraph's Melanie McDonagh points out--en route to an argument about referendums--that minarets "couldn't be used to call the faithful to prayer because noise regulations, this being Switzerland, don't permit it." That means, she argues, that "small Islamic communities all over Switzerland just wanted to make their presence felt. On the skyline."
  • Bad Decision, But Back Off Matt Barganier calls the ban "wrong and dumb" but doesn't appreciate Andrew Sullivan's "Nazi jab" about the referendum results. "One very wrong, very dumb thing the Swiss have not done," Barganier writes, "is launch any wars of aggression against Muslim peoples, or anyone else, for that matter." He calls Sullivan's remark "cringe-worthy."
  • Bad Decision: Did Too Little The Wall Street Journal decides that the ban "does too much and too little at once." The editors' explanation: "Too much because it becomes a very visible and easily exploited symbol of supposed European intolerance. But it accomplishes too little because it seeks merely to hide from view the problems that gave rise to the fear of the minaret in the first place." The fear, they write, " is "not without cause." They mention terrorism, "honor killings, child brides and the like."
  • Stands Up for Women, Gays Roger Simon at Pajamas Media latches onto the role of Swiss feminists in the anti-minaret campaign, calling it "no surprise." Islamic texts, he says, are "an assault on women," to "anyone with eyes open." He rejects "fuddy-duddy complaints that Judaism and Christianity have also had their bouts of misogyny and homophobia ... those two religions long ago began to reform themselves in those areas in many of their branches," he argues. "Don't believe me ... next time you want to have a gay pride parade, want to hold it in Tel Aviv or Cairo? Or how about Riyadh?"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.