Been There?

The Swiss just banned mosque minarets. It seems a small thing but it isn’t. One could say it’s like banning church steeples, but it’s much more than that. The minaret is the tower through which the faithful are called to prayers and praying 5 times a day is central to being a good Muslim. The measure banning minarets passed with about 57% of the vote. Some 2.7 million people voted, in a country of 7.5 million. While Switzerland has traditionally been politically neutral, its citizens tend to be bound by tradition and slow to warm to change, so the vote from that standpoint is not a surprise. Polls taken just 10 days prior indicated only 37% support for the measure, so the result was unexpected. The real problem, however, is that when a group, or a country starts this kind of religious discrimination, it is much too reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Even now in Paris many synagogues are hidden. What is troublesome to the point of being scary is that this vote invites a sense of having been there before. Hopefully the Swiss people will realize that and find a way to rectify what could otherwise be a slippery slope.