Swiss ban Muslim minarets

Fascinating, and somewhat odd, story.

Swiss voters defied their Government and clerics yesterday and approved a ban on building minarets — reflecting an alarming hostility to a rising Muslim minority.

Fifty-seven per cent of voters in a referendum supported the direct democracy initiative…

I’m not sure I totally get it, but let me pose a few devil’s advocate questions:

1. Is it okay for municipalities, in any country, to regulate if and when Islamic centers, or mosques, can play their call to prayer on speakers outside?

2. Is it a valid concern if immigrant groups refuse to assimilate? I remember someone mentioning this to me a while back, and I told them how my grandmother, who had been in the US for, what, sixty years, knew probably 20 words of English. I used to love how we’d visit her home and knock on her door, and she’d answer “who ees?” Yiayia (as we Greeks call our grandmothers) was 100% American, and proud of it. She simply didn’t assimilate.

3. But is there a difference between my yiayia and a Muslim fundamentalist? Is there a difference between a Muslim fundamentalist in Europe and a Christian fundamentalist, or Mormon, in America? Don’t all three groups sometimes try to impose their minority views on the rest of the population?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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