Logic of Swiss minaret ban should be adopted in Israel as well
Assaf Wohl Published: 12.08.09, 11:26 / Israel Opinion
As it turns out, Heidi is no longer a sucker. Something very odd happened to that blonde girl. She no longer gathers in kittens in the Swiss Alps. Online forums inform me that Heidi is quarreling with a few billion furious Muslims. At times it appears that believers in general and Muslims in particular are always furious. But do they have a good reason for it this time?
Why do a few snowcapped minarets bother the Swiss? How terrible could a Muslim call for prayer be when it integrates the traditional yodel? We should keep in mind that the vote to ban minarets solves no problem for the Swiss. After all, this is not a ban on building mosques, but rather, only on minarets. So what’s the big deal?
However, it appears that the Swiss experienced a collective awakening. The Toblerone connoisseurs apparently realized that they are in the midst of a culture war. And as they did not sign a commitment to politically correct conduct like their other European neighbors, they could afford to make a decision that seemingly contradicts individual rights.
And why only “seemingly?” Because the minarets are an important symbol in Islam’s culture war against the West. They do not express individual freedom of worship and religion but rather, present a collective issue.
The role of a minaret has not been confined to calls for prayer for a while now. I recall once asking a resident of a nearby village: Why do I need to hear the call for prayer even though the mosque is three kilometers away from my house? After all, the village is home to only a handful of believers; why don’t you text message them?
Yet the answer was clear to me even before I asked the question. The mosque is a symbol of control, ownership, and occupation. As such, it must be the tallest and loudest structure in the area. This phenomenon is not unique to Islam; all monotheistic religions are interested in eliciting recognition for their righteousness and power. They are unable to accept multiple truths, but rather, only their own truth. Hence, their believers are interested in posting their flag at every site, and preferably at sites where the residents have no interest in them.
Moreover, this “emigration” is never mutual. The believers are always the one to move to the more secular neighborhoods and states. Seeing a democratic school established in the ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood is about as realistic as seeing Disneyland established in Mecca.
For that reason, I see no difference between the establishment of a mosque in Geneva to the establishment of an advanced religious seminary in the heart of the secular Ramat Aviv. I also see no difference between the Muslim calls for prayer and the horrifying Shabbat sirens. Regrettably, too many secular strongholds around here have recently become targets for “occupation.” Usually, the justification for this is “to spread the light” or to “display a Jewish presence.”
Forgive me, gentlemen. We live in a Jewish state. There is no need to display such presence. Besides, why is there always a need to “display”? What’s wrong with “integrating”? Yet for the most part, believers are unable to accept integration. Just like those who build minarets in Switzerland. They did not come there to integrate, but rather, to take over.
Hence, I believe that before going ahead with the establishment of a religious institution, a referendum should be held among local residents. Should this not take place, the neighborhood’s character will change, and if you don’t adapt yourself you’ll be forced to leave. Where to? Who knows? Maybe to Switzerland.
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