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EGYPT: Clerics enraged by Swiss minarets ban


New legislation prohibiting the building of minarets on top of mosques in Switzerland has been met by strong condemnation from Egypt's grand religious mufti as well as top Islamic clerics.

A nationwide referendum in Switzerland on Sunday, which was called for by the rightist Swiss People's Party and the Federal Democratic Union, saw 57% of the population vote in favor of banning the construction of minarets. Only four Swiss mosques had minarets as of the referendum's date.

"This proposal ... is not considered just an attack on freedom of beliefs, but also an attempt to insult the feelings of the Muslim community in and outside Switzerland," Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said. "I call on all Muslims not to be affected by this provocation but I encourage Swiss Muslims to use dialogue and legal means to ban the contest," he added.

A minaret is the tall spire that crowns the top of nearly all mosques built in Muslim countries. Historically, it was used to call people to prayer. The referendum was instantly denounced by the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who called the move an unfortunate step for Switzerland that discriminates against the country's Muslim minority.

Gomaa criticized the vote as an insult not just to Switzerland's 400,000 Muslims, but to followers of the religion across the world. Strong reaction also came from other clerics including Abdul Aziz Al Twegry, head of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, who called on Arab Muslims to commercially boycott to Switzerland and for businessmen to withdraw accounts from top Swiss banks.

The minarets ban adds to the feeling among many Egyptian Muslims that Europe discriminates against Islam, especially after incidents, including the 2005 Danish cartoons that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad and the stabbing death in July of a veiled Egyptian woman by a right-wing German extremist in Dresden.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. Credit: Agence France-Presse

Comments () | Archives (95)

this is a response to Brian regarding islamic spain ruled for 700 years.
WHY DID ISLAM INVADE SPAIN IN THE FIRST PLACE with the islamic sword and after conquouring then became peaceful with the christains and jews. They the christains and jews were in a dhimi status(second class citizens) for if the muslims didnt allow this there would be civil wars within the newly conquored spain as thousand and thousand of christain and jewish women and children were being taken as slaves in the newly formed islamic spain during that time and so not to distrub or afraid they the christains will become like islamic ruthless people.

Also the crusades were in response to the islamic oppression of the christians in the holy land. Yes, there were brutalities which were commited by the christains and vice versa, but these were started by islam to achieve mass amounts of land and slaves, please read your history just dont talk out of your naive islamic brain.

But what has these past history to do with modern day status as Dhimi(Second Class citizens) for christains,buddists,jews,sikhs and other religions in muslim countries. All non-muslims countries especially the west has bend down to accomodate muslims, and some to the extent as to bend western liberal laws for islam. Yet, islam is not satisfied, it will never be until it conqours the west like the old times.

Islam is pure evil to the core. islam is not a religion but a political movement to achieve global dominance. Show me a churhc or a hindu temple or a jewish temple in saudia arabia. Go to Egypt and see how they deal with the Coptic Christains, the egyptians treat them like animals, burn down their chruches at every riot and they dont allow new chruches to be build, infact you have to ask permission from the president of egypt to build a church.

In Turkey, they have taken Hagia Sofia Church and turned it to a Mosque, then into a museum. Still they will not give back Hagia Sofia to be a church again. Muslims are hypocrates. Turkey has a mission to wipe off all churches and convert them into secular museums and thus will elimanate the christains populations.

Christains are not allowed to be christains in middle-east, period. Now muslims shout. Give me a church, hindu temple, jewish temple, buddist temple or any other temple in the heart of Mecca or Medina and then I will voice my dis-taste for the swiss vote.

this is a response to Mary, who shows the old historic Churches in the wider-middle-east to show there are churches in Middle-East. Remember, Saudia arabia,iran,egypt,turkey,etc will not allow to build new churches but look at the West and look at the islamic sites promoting the largest mosque building in michagan,USA and in Rome, Germany,France, Britain. Islam boasts some of the biggest and cosliest mosque building in the western hemisphere and the fastest mosque building ever.

So Why are muslims countries so restrictive on church building. Please take a look to see how the west treat islam and muslims judge for yourself if you have a brain to do so. Just Google mosques in America and you get thousands of mosque and also make sure you see the pictures. Also view the one being build in Michangan as the LARGEST mosque in North America.

Muslims say, but there are churches in the middle-east. Yes there are, but these churhes were build before islam invaded certain countries which include egypt,lebanon etc and or are very old and crumbling. In egypt they will not even allow to repair them. Islam wants those egyption churches to fall and crumble and there will not give any permission to build new ones.

Why do muslims say do not include saudia arabia for churches as the mention the vatican to do the same, Dont you muslims have hundreds of Mosque in Italy, isnt the vatican inside italy. The UN and western media dont see this, muslims dont see this. I wonder what would happen to a girl in a red mini-dress (muslims stop thinking of the girl as a ho) walking the street in saudi arabia, egypt, iran and the other glorious islamic countries. Dont you dare give me, but its muslim culture to cover up, where is the girl right to walk in a red mini-dress in all islamic countries, just as a human being.

You Muslims are such hypcocrates, that is why islam as a religion will fail. You can see the fault of others very clearly but fail to see your own filth. You want to spread your religion around the western countries but will severely restrict your own islamic countries from building churches.

But wait what has swiss muslims got to do with the islamic countries, they are peaceful so they should be allowed to build a mosque. But also wait what has the egyption christain copts got to do with the western christain countries, they are also peaceful and should be allowed to build their churches in egypt,saudia arabia, iran.

See the muslim hyprocrazy .

Claiming “Islam” means “peace” is fraudulent to begin with. Islam is an Arabic word. And the word for peace in Arabic is “solh,” and not Islam. Islam is derived from the root word “taslim,” which means submission or surrender. Hence, Islam’s true name, surrender, is in fact most descriptive of what it is: total, unconditional submission and surrender of the individual and the community to the will and dictates of Allah as revealed by his “rasool,” messenger, Muhammad.

Hey he,Hey he !!!!! Let it be known to mankind that Christains,Hindus,Buddists,Sikhs and all other religions are not allowed to say anything bad about islam, for islam is the only true religion in the world per United Nations.

If Islam rapes your women, kills your children, behead your sons,father and husband so shall it be for its the true religion per UN. let it be know that in islam there is no equality, therefore no churches or temples of any kind in muslim land especially in saudia arabia, iran, sudan,turkey, egypt, somalia,pakistan,bangladesh or any other muslims majority country, dont like it too bad as authorized by the United Nations.

All discriminations done by muslims to all other faith should be tolorated as under the United Nations recommendations and laws stated and drafted with the oil money in the UN. Therfore all non-muslims children shall be given as slaves to muslims for generation to come, daughters,mothers and sisters are to be given to muslims as fit per United Nations and sanctions will be imposed on those non-muslims countries that do not apply with the UN Draft Resolution :"Islam the true religion on Earth"

Turkish PM recently said; "The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets and the minarets are our bayonets" it any wonder that civilised people everywhere worry about the advance of Islam.

Islam is not a tolerant religion and does not respect the rights of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists or even gays in Muslim or Western lands. Since the failed policy of multiculturalism has been forced down our throats we have seen that diverse cultures can not co-exist together, they clash.

Muslims are still allowed to build mosques in Switzerland but minarets are out. I applaud the Swiss for having the guts to have 'citizens initiated referenda ' in their Constitution. This gives citizens the mechanism to challenge the Govts. position on many issues. Power to the people.

The Maldives is about to pass a UN written Constitution which states that all citizens of the Maldives must be muslim. Isn't this racist and also discriminatory? It is typical of the muslims and also the UN to point the finger at others while neglecting the plight of the real victims.

Saudi Arabia bans churches and synagogues and does not allow the reading of ther Bible. Many Filippinos have been murdered for holding a pray or Bible study in the Saudi Kingdom. Where are the crys from the UN?

ask the Christians in southern Egypt how nicely the muslims are treating them? Better yet, ask the hundreds of thousands in Iraq forced to flee how theyre are being treated.

Responding to "Truth":
How about spain which was ruled by Muslims for 700 years. During that period churches and Jewish temples were made side by side with mosques.

Yes, and "infidels" were still subject to the laws of dhimmitude.

When will you mention holy crusades from christians in 10th century during which they killed, raped women and children.

Barbaric, true. But when will you mention the Crusades were a RESPONSE to the Islamic invasion of the Holy Lands?

When will you mention Spain, Portugal, Holland (dutch) christian invasion on central and north America. Forcing native to either convert or die. When will you mention Spanish inquisition.

No argument there. But remember, these actions were AGAINST the tenets of Christianity, whereas Islam calls on its believers to slay the infidels where you find them, and Muhammed, himself, indisputably took the sword up and butchered people.

When will you mention Hitler, was he not from christian country, killing jews? Your excuse is that Hitler did all that because he was nuts, not because he was a christian.

Yes, he was. And while he could not publicly denounce Christianity, he privately called it a faith for weaklings (documented) that he despised. He gloried in Germany's bloody pagan legends and myths. Further, most Islamic countries fully supported Hitler then (and now).

Your points about U.K. and U.S. imperialism are not without merit. But you must remember, David, when Western politicians do these things, they go against Christianity. It is perfectable acceptable in Islam to wage jihad (and spare me the b.s. that jihad means inner struggle. I know al-taquiya when I hear it.

They still have the mosque, right? So what is the big deal? Look up “Mona’s Dream” in a search engine to see how tolerant Iran is towards a minority religion.

In posts in papers all over the world people have been asking, "but what about Islamic intolerance?" and of course that is a good question.

Is name-calling the best response you have, Sam?

Vincent, not all Nazi's were evil. Just like not all Muslims are evil. Like the Nazi Germans, majority of them are peace loving (many Nazi German's risk their lives to save the Jews). Banning Manarets would be like banning Octoberfest (because they are tied to the German (Nazi) culture). Remember, it is not the gun that kill people, it's the person holding the gun that kills.

Posted by: vincent a. joy | December 03, 2009 at 03:48 PM

John,I agree with you in theory, heres the problem, if the the Nazi's were a religion with their hate for Jews just like these Islamic radicals you would've probably defended them, all in the name of tolorence and diversity.

Patriot, you forgot the Jews' God is a God that wipe out cities and brought the flood that killed all but Noah and his family. So, who's the real terrorist? Does that make the Jewish an evil cult? Just because a religion is founded by a murderer does not automatically make the follower evil.

Look at medival Europe and colonization era, where people were killed at the whim of the nobles. Not to menton slavery of nations in Africa and Asia. Where were the just Christian Church defending these "little people"?

Posted by: Patriot | December 03, 2009 at 06:31 PM

The problem with Islam is that it was founded by a terrorist. Muhammad is well-documented to have personally beheaded at least 900 people, murdered whole villages and towns (yes, that means women, children and old men) that refused to bow to his version of "Allah,"

Hey Clyde, sounds like what the Chinese communist do with the Tibetians. I did not know you are a supporter of China's control on religion.

Posted by: clyde nugget | December 02, 2009 at 08:31 PM

The ban on minarets is not enough. If the Swiss want an effective measure against the islamization of their country, they should severely curtail the activities of imams and other Moslem religious leaders. It is mostly the imams who stir trouble in their mosques. England in particular seems to have been infested with several imams who preached jihad and promoted terrorism.

One way to counteract this is to closely supervise the Moslem clergy. For example, they could be required to report weekly to a monitoring agency, carrying a report of their weekly activities signed by the board members of their congregations who will be held responsible for the imam they hired, financially and otherwise. Law-abiding Moslems who insist on having an imam to guide their religious observance should have no problems with such supervision.

As recent history has shown, imams can be deadly weapons when they preach jihad to their disaffected followers. Like the potentially deadly weapons they are, imams should be closely supervised to make sure they are safe.

to Marc A. Loera:

Your claims are ridiculous!! I'm an Egyptian who lives in Egypt and I have many coptic friends! You can absolutely build a church in Egypt quite easily, they ARE a minority but they are a very important active minority and they are absolutely respected in this country, and are exempt from Sharia law!

They are an important part of Egyptian culture and any kind of discrimination against them is dealt with very seriously.

As a matter of act, the most powerful family in Egypt is coptic: the Sawiris Family. Y

Mike T Roeman wrote," Islamic missile-ets are not welcome by most people in the UK either but we can't do anything about it. "

Mike huh??..."most of the people in the UK cannot do anything about it" ??
If they(the people of England) represent the majority and since England is a democracy they can do something like changed the law just like Switzerland did.

What a silly illogical statement from this guy.

This is what religion does, all religions, divides people and starts wars.

Why is this post titled "Clerics enraged by Swiss minarets ban"?

Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said. "I call on all Muslims not to be affected by this provocation but I encourage Swiss Muslims to use dialogue and legal means to ban the contest,"

That doesn't sound "enraged" to me. His reaction is rational and balanced.

As for the majority of the comments, it doesn't take much to bring out the anti-Islam bigots from their holes in the ground.

What clerical Muslim cheek! Egypt invariably treats the Christian Copts badly, worse than second-class citizens. And they, the Copts, not the Arab Egyptians who invaded the country and took over back in the 6th century, are the original Egyptians. No great manifestation of Egyptian Muslim tolerance. Try to build a church in Egypt of any other Muslim country, and see how far you get. 'Quid pro quo.'

Good for the Swiss, who realize that they have to defend their patch of Western culture.

Dave, I'm asking you to be intelectually honest,as a Muslim, you don't see a concern to members of your religion that slashes the throats of infidels if they don't conform to their way of belief ?, if thats not biggotry and hate you really need some self examination.

You think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would ever allow a child of his especially a son bring home a boyfiend? You know the answer to that. How about that vermon from Iraq who ran over his own daughter in Arizona because she was too westernized or the honor killing of a girl in Canada by her murdering rat bastard father just because she took her berka off to go to a club, what about this Jihadist in Ft. Hood. I can go on & on & on and its all done by the practitioners of the religion of peace,and we're the bigots? How laughable.

I will agree with you that too many Americans are arm chair quarterbacks and need to put down the beer & chips, Bill Mahr & the rest of the libs in Hollywood needs to stop this BS that Christianity, prop 8 & global warming are the enemies and what threatens us.We need to come together and recognize that this evil violent religion is the enemy. You won't hear that from Obama.

The problem with Islam is that it was founded by a terrorist. Muhammad is well-documented to have personally beheaded at least 900 people, murdered whole villages and towns (yes, that means women, children and old men) that refused to bow to his version of "Allah," and raped women as young as nine years of age. And what happens when you "call" an Islamist on historical fact? They issue a "fatwa", in other words, they call for your death. Just ask Robert Spencer (author of: THE TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM & THE TRUTH ABOUT MUHAMMAD) or Salman Rushdie, both of whom remain in hiding because at its core - Islam is a CULT OF DEATH!
Christianity, on the other hand was founded by a man who preached: "Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself." Indeed when Jesus came upon a Jewish mob about to stone an adulteress, one of the Jews asked: "Rabbi, is it not the law of Moses that calls for the stoning of this adulteress?" Jesus answered that it was but then said: "Let he amongst you who is without sin pick up and cast the first stone." At which point the mob grumbled and walked away and Jesus then told the adulteress to: "Get up and leave and sin no more." Question: What would Muhammad do? Frightening to contemplate!

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