The Swiss are poised to vote on a disturbing attack on religion: a ban on minarets on mosques used for the adhan (call to prayer). If passed, the referendum this Sunday would be a clear denial of a basic human right for Muslims and an act of popular intolerance against a minority group.
The measure is the work of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party. The organizer is Ulrich Schlüer, who insists that “The minaret has got nothing to do with religion. It’s a symbol of political power, a prelude to the introduction of sharia law.”
While it is true that the first minarets appeared 80 years after Muhammad’s death, they do play a significant role in the calling of the faithful and providing the faithful with a visual vantage point — much like a church bell tower served to call to Christians. It is odd that the party is not seeking a ban on church towers.
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