Here are a few issues raised and it reveals the hollowness that has come to apply to political discourses:
There are only four minarets among the tens of thousands of church spires in Switzerland but the SVP campaigned against them as a symbol of Islamic political influence, which it claimed could eventually undermine the nation's Christian values and democracy.
Since when has Switzerland become a Christian nation? Values cannot be politicised. Minarets do not stand for political influence. Muslims constitute about five percent of the population, and they are mostly from East Europe which can hardly claim to be symbols of Islam.
The spires are traditionally used to make the call for prayers at mosques but Swiss noise control regulations have already stopped them from being used for that purpose; instead, they became an architectural symbol of the Islamic faith. The ban on minarets does not stop the building of mosques, and Muslims were still free to practise their faith.
This is weird. A muezzin could shout from atop a dome as well. And what about church bells? Personally, I am against the call to the faithful at unearthly hours and would rather they invest in alarm clocks, but to use this as a stick to beat a community with is ridiculous.
Embarrassed government spokesmen agreed that the ban would "serve the interests of extremist circles" only, and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey claimed that a yes vote "could make Switzerland a target for Islamic terrorism".
Wow. Even when they are decrying the ban, they are slyly suggesting that this could result in a backlash. Did they want it? Switzerland was not attacked in the two world wars. During the First war, Lenin lived there; it managed to remain unscathed during the WW 11 by playing along with the Germans, although it did not fall into the Nazi trap.
If it has managed to work its way around such major upheavals in history what is the fear now? Mosques have been attacked these past two weeks.
Ulrich Schluer, an SVP politician has been holding forth:
"We compare our situation to Germany, France or England and the problems they have in their suburbs. That is what we do not want here. Mosques are not part of freedom of religion. This is not against Islam. The minaret is a symbol . . . of conquest and power, which marks the will to introduce Shariah law as in other European cities. We will not accept that".
Obviously, someone needs a few lessons in history. How is it not against Islam if it assumes that Shariah law will be introduced? Civil society building mosques is going to now connote conquest?
The problem is that many of these nations will market their goods, send their expertise to Arab countries and bask in the special privileges they get there, but at home they treat immigrants with suspicion.
I have already talked about the breach in the White House security. This was no terrorist attack.
I understand the need for societies to retain their own identity, but what can five per cent of the population do? Are we trying to use examples of a few terrorists? There is no way to justify those acts, but how many people are gunned down in campuses, how many people are murdered, how many fanatics of different stripes – and not just religion – walk around selling their ideologies? What about those versions of ‘shariah’? No one can impose a religious law in a democracy. This bogey is deliberately created to marginalise some groups.
Businesses such as watch-maker Swatch and Switzerland's famous banking industry said they feared the ban could provoke expensive boycotts by Muslims around the world, while the Swiss government warned it could inflame tensions between religions.
Oh, sure. This is what the business lot would be concerned about. Here is news. Muslims, the real rich ones, are the Arabs. They will not boycott anything so long as it is kosher. Trade will continue. If they just kept quiet and went about with their Alps and stopped getting all jittery about something rising up towards the sky, there would be no problems. The rowdies may come out in the streets and make a noise. This seems deliberate.
In the form of direct referendum to get views, they could have asked people about more pressing issues. Why did they choose this? To please the rest of Europe? France, Germany? Perhaps the country should take a good look at itself and watch how the different sections of its own French and German sides are disparate and have an ongoing quiet battle on between them.
I only hope Muslims forget about it as a bad joke and go on with their jobs. They do work too, you know? And the Swiss can be certain that at least one Muslim here has worshipped at the altar of Sprungli. And will continue to do so.