Friday, December 11, 2009

Swiss Minaret Ban: Muslims’ Rights vs. Non-Muslims’ Rights

by M. A. Khan
The Swiss ban on mosque-top minarets on the ground of its being a symbol of political domination of Islam, an instrument incompatible with the secular Swiss society with strict separation between religion and state, has attracted widespread condemnations worldwide. Most of all, Switzerland is poised to be brought before the European or the U.N. Commission of Human Rights because the ban, if enforced, would constitute a violation of religious freedom of Muslims. Does the minaret ban constitute a violation of Muslims’ religious freedom? It may constitute such a violation, but only to a small measure, as their freedom of worship, including the freedom to build mosques, is not tampered with. The Minaret, religiously, is not a major component of Islam. On the flipside, the Swiss ban may represent a backlash against the widespread Muslim violation of religious freedom -- even the right to life -- of non-Muslims. While the world has engaged in the intense condemnation of the Swiss minaret ban as a violation of Muslims’ religious freedom, hundreds, probably thousands, of non-Muslims across the Muslim world have been suffering intimidation and violence, even death, for simply being non-Muslim or trying to observe their religious rituals and rights in the most peaceful and submissive manner. Over the past weeks, while the Swiss minaret ban hysteria was going on, a 3,000-strong hysterical Muslim mob engaged in rioting in Egypt, attacking Christians and their businesses -- a frequent occurrence. Additionally, Muslim extremists in Uganda attacked a Sunday church congregation, wounding many and damaging the church; Islamic radicals executed...
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