Swiss voters decided to ban minaret construction in their country the other day, outlawing a major symbol of the spread of Islam and its culture throughout Europe and much of the world. The ban doesn’t actually ban mosques, the practice of Islam, or even require that present minarets be taken down. Future minarets simply can’t be constructed.
Well, this has the politically correct left-wing of Europe in a tizzy. So much so that the Swiss Justice Minister is now insisting that voters can’t be trusted to vote on every issue and that their democratic will should be overruled by the oligarchy of PC bureaucrats.
So concerned is the government by the decision that Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer Schlumpf, watching the results come in on Sunday afternoon, apparently told her advisers there ought to be some restrictions on what the general public can actually vote on.
This, for Switzerland, is political dynamite. The country’s system of direct democracy is sacrosanct. The people are allowed to vote on any policy and to propose policy themselves, which is what they did on minarets.
We have to keep in mind the system of government enjoyed by the Swiss. As the article says, it’s direct democracy. Voters can decide on constitutional amendments and what’s allowed in their country, just as they did in the case of the minaret ban. So suddenly the oligarchy coming in and telling the voters that they can’t be trusted is a scandal.
DrewM. has a great post up at Ace of Spades. A sample:
As for Muslims feeling unwelcome, for good or ill, I think that was the message behind the vote. It seems the Swiss don’t want to have to deal with issues such as forced marriage or honor killings. Quite frankly, why should they? It’s simply not part of Swiss heritage. Why should a country and society that has organized itself in a certain way suddenly have to adapt itself because a group of immigrants bring their culture and problems (from a Swiss perspective) with them?
Keeping in mind that Islamist problems are even larger in European daily life than in the United States. Film directors have been brutally murdered, being shot dead and then mutilated, in broad daylight for projects that simply criticize Islam. A burqa was placed on the statue of the Little Mermaid in Denmark. A British couple was recently arrested for defending their Christian religion in an argument with Muslims. It’s a seemingly endless stream of issues.
Which isn’t to say that one bans the practice of their religion or expressions of free speech. But if the voters in Switzerland, a direct democracy, decide to ban what has become a political symbol and issue, who is the Swiss Minister to suddenly decide they can’t be trusted?
Update: Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the murder of film director Theo van Gogh (yes, related to the famous artist):
Mohammed Bouyeri murdered Van Gogh in the early morning of 2 November 2004, in Amsterdam, in front of the Amsterdam East borough office (stadsdeelkantoor) on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat (52°21?32.22?N 4°55?34.74?E), while he was bicycling to work.  Bouyeri shot van Gogh eight times with an HS 2000 handgun, and Van Gogh died on the spot. Bouyeri then cut Van Gogh’s throat, nearly decapitating him, and stabbed him in the chest. Two knives were left implanted in his torso, one attaching a five-page note to his body. The note (Text) threatened Western governments, Jews and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who went into hiding). The note also contained references to the ideologies of the Egyptian organization Takfir wal-Hijra. The murder of Theo Van Gogh bears similarities to the fates of 7th century poets Abu ‘Afak, Asma bint Marwan and Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf who were all murdered after having written critically about Muhammad.
So voters deciding to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland seems pale in comparison.