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ARAB WORLD: Libya's Kadafi and some Muslim clerics urge Swiss to drop minaret ban

Germany-minaret-getty Having long touted neutrality and moderation in world affairs, Switzerland is now being accused of fanning the flames of religious extremism by voting in a referendum to outlaw the building of mosque minarets.

Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, long accused of supporting militant groups throughout the Middle East, says the Swiss are now supporting terrorism, at least indirectly.

The famously long-winded Kadafi spoke for 78 minutes this weekend on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his rule, according to Libyan television, which carried the speech live. 

Kadafi said the vote late last month will help Osama bin Laden recruit associates.

"Switzerland has done the so-called Al Qaeda, or the terrorists, the biggest favor," he said.

The referendum results already have sparked an uproar in Europe, and condemnations in Iran and Egypt. 

Now concern about the referendum is emerging as a major issue in the Middle East. 

Jordan's Islamic Action Front, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, has asked the Swiss to rescind the ban lest it risk jeopardizing relations with the Arab world. Ishaq Farhan, a leader of the group, called the referendum racist and discriminatory, according to the English-language Jordan Times. 

He warned that there would be dire consequences if Switzerland didn't overturn the ban, including the possibility that the leaders and royal families of oil-rich Persian Gulf would refuse to bank with the Swiss. 

"If Switzerland remains adamant in discriminating against Muslims, Muslim nations, particularly the oil-rich Arab Gulf states, will pressure their governments to take retaliatory measures, including economic sanctions," he said. "Think of your interests. You are in need of oil, gas, seaports, seas, solar energy and investments. Be careful before you lose all that."

He warned that adhering to the ban would affect Switzerland's relations with the entire Muslim world, including giants such as Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia and India. "Swiss tourists and Swiss nationals will be boycotted," he added.

Sunni clerics in the tiny oil-rich state of Bahrain said the ban showed the West's hypocrisy. 

"The ban sharply contrasts with the pompous claims often made by the West about freedom of religion, human rights and tolerance," Jassim Saeedi, an independent member of parliament in the lower house of the bicameral parliament, told worshipers Friday, according to a report in the Dubai-based Gulf News.

At least one cleric, though, urged the faithful to remain calm. 

"Angry and passionate reactions will inevitably result in negative results and will not help settle the issue," Abdul Rahman Fadil told worshipers in Bahrain. "Dialogue and open conversations should be the standard in addressing the ban."

Kadafi, however, lambasted the Swiss. His country and Switzerland have been on the outs ever since authorities briefly detained Kadafi's son for allegedly hurting a domestic servant traveling with his family in Switzerland.  

"We tell them that the minaret is at the heart of the mosque," he said. "How can we tell a mosque from any other place if we did not see the minaret?"

The Swiss, he said, should not worry that Muslims were trying to take over their country. "We do not wish for Switzerland to be a Muslim country, so that they would not go to heaven and would not receive God's mercy," he said. "We would want them to remain pagan."

-- Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: Minarets loom over the dome of the Sehitlik Mosque in Berlin. Credit: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (22)

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"

@ Adrian: my parents always taught me that the correct response to bad behavior was not MORE bad behavior.
By:PQuincy Dec 6 4:50pm

What would our world look like today if someone like you said that about the Nazi's during WW2 and the U.S. shared that same sentiment? Answer: we'd all be speaking German or lampshades.

PQuincy, my father & uncles taught me that the correct response to a misbehaving bully was to STOP his bad behavior.

You ask "Why it would make sense to throw out three centuries of a policy and tradition we have every reason to be proud of in order to spite ultra-orthodox monarchs and dictators is beyond me".

Let see....maybe because history has shown that dictators have'nt been very nice people. Why do you give evil the benefit of the doubt?

It still seems to me that no matter how many politically correct, Islam ass kissing articles I read concerning the ban on minarets, that the general response in the comments section, applauds Swiss democracy and admires the Swiss people for refusing to be bullied by the threat of Islamic reprisals.

I think mostly though, that Islamic countries are genuinely shocked not by the actual result but by the realization that some Western countries have a real democratic process and not pretend ones like theirs. I mean... Iran... come on that bastion of human rights and free speech is telling Switzerland that it disapproves of the Swiss decision made in Switzerland by Swiss people.

I honestly think they should have another referendum entitled "Should all the Islamic countries who don't like our way of government get stuffed?"

I think they may get a "Yes"...

1)The Swiss can decide what they want in their own country. It is their prerogative.
2) In the last 60 years, how many churches have been constructed in the muslim countries? Zero!
3) In the last 60 years, how many mosques have been constructed in Europe? Thousands!
4) Every islamic commentator speaks about "discrimination" but tolerance is a 2-way street.
5) When in Rome, do as the Romans do!
6) Are the muslims in Europe listening?
7) Don't be bamboozled by the premise that the Muslim countries will relax restrictions on infidels. Just read the Koran!!
8) Why are Gaddafi & Co interfering in Swiss internal affairs?
9) The rights that the Muslims demand from others have been taken away from the non-muslims in the Muslim countries!

What about having some Masque in Vatican first ? By the way there are Churches and temples in Dubai.

there are churches everywhere in muslim countrys, from pakistan indonesia, how dare these non muslims treat there own minority this way, its disgusting

"If Switzerland remains adamant in discriminating against Muslims, Muslim nations, particularly the oil-rich Arab Gulf states, will pressure their governments to take retaliatory measures, including economic sanctions," he said. "Think of your interests. You are in need of oil, gas, seaports, seas, solar energy and investments. Be careful before you lose all that."

That is the situation we are all in, we have to listen to intolerant people lecturing others about intolerance. We should have been developing our natural gas for use in automobiles.

The Swiss saw these minarets as a symbol of Islamic superiority see the link below for the best explanation of this view.

@ Adrian: my parents always taught me that the correct response to bad behavior was not MORE bad behavior. In contrast to some explicitly Islamic nations, the nations of Europe and North America celebrate religious liberty and individual rights.

Why it would make sense to throw out three centuries of a policy and tradition we have every reason to be proud of in order to spite ultra-orthodox monarchs and dictators is beyond me.

Ironically, of course, treating them as they treat their own Christian citizens is exactly what the Islamists expect and in fact would prefer. I just read about an interview with the former leader of Hamas who said that he would much prefer a "Christian nation" in the United States as his rival -- as he put it, "at least you would be moral, then." Our secular liberties and respect for all religions are among things that are most threatening to the extremists we confront, yet you would just throw that all out.

Go figure!

One hopes that Swiss voters are not surprised at the backlash they have caused by their narrow-minded vote -- one manipulated by right-wing populists who played to the xenophobia that has been part of Swiss culture for at least a century. That said, it's a little rich to hear Gaddafi lecturing the Swiss, since his behavior is probably a good part to blame for the outcome of the vote.

Several years ago, Geneva police arrested Gaddafi's son for what appears to have been gross mistreatment of his servants in public. Gaddafi's thoughtful, moderate response was to kidnap several Swiss businessmen currently in Libya and hold on them on an ever-changing succession of most likely trumped up charges.

This last summer, the chair of the Federal Council -- the closest thing Switzerland has to a president -- tried some 'personal diplomacy' to gain the release of Gaddafi's hostages. Traveling to Libya, the president apologized, and signed an embarrassing accord that turned adjudication of the son's case over to an arbitration panel. Gaddafi's response to the agreement signed by his own government was to add on new charges against the hostages, and to refuse to fill any of the agreement's provisions.

This rather public humiliation of Switzerland's highest dignitary -- added on to Gaddafi's public proposal before the UN to dissove Switzerland and allocate its pieces to Italy, France and Germany -- scarcely improved public opinion in Switzlerland regarding the Islamic world. To be sure, too many Swiss found the barely concealed racism of the SVP (Swiss People's Party) attractive already, but Gaddafi personally and directly contributed to such sentiments with his erratic, dictatorial and vindictive behavior.

So, now Gaddafi stands up and presumes to lecture the world on good behavior?

It's only fair.

For every minaret and mosque in the West, one church or synagogue in the Muslim world.

What could be more equitable?

Last time I heard GhadaffiDuck wasn't the almighty ruler of Switzerland. He has no business barking about anything outside of his country of sand farmers. And if the muslims aren't happy, they should go to a muslim country if it means that much to them.

How long before the religion of peace dispatches an emissary of love and acceptance to blow themselves up in a crowded Swiss center?

The least tolerant, most radical and violent people in the world are asking for inclusion?
Oh, sorry - my bad. They are threatening the Swiss that if their demands are not met there will be consequences.
I hope the Swiss have a stronger backbone than the Spanish.
The Danes are the only people on the planet who have stood up to these terrorists.
In America, we certainly don't have the guts to stand up to the Islamic radicals, even with cartoons.

The Swiss can either accept immigrants and treat them as fully equal, or not accept immigrants from certain countries. Either or, it will be discrimination, and have negative repercussions.
Or, they can choose to rise above those muslim countries they apparently blame for sinking towards the level of, and elect to promote religious tolerance.

The idea that muslim countries religious discrimination somehow makes it justified to discriminate "back" against their peoples, sounds like an extremely lame excuse to engage in mass discrimination. They blame muslim countries for doing it, yet wish for their own countries to emulate them. Little wonder it's caused a backlash.

Since the muslims have said they want to take over the world and by having the freedom to put up their religious steeples anywhere they want, in any country, is a mighty powerful statement in doing so.
I think they ought to be banned everywhere. It will take a powerful and courageous politician to do this here in the US.

Close down and ban all the Muslim Mosque in the western world.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
They have banned Christian churches in all the muslims countries.
Must say I haven't liked one muslim that I have met, they are anti-women, anti-dog and very closed minded.

How can we tell a mosque from any other place if we do not see the minaret? Let me see. The sign on the door. The Phone book. Search the internet for an address. Your neighbors. I can go on.

Humanity is regressing. Fast.

If Khaddaffi thinks he is going to heaven he's in for a big surprise...

The Western world should only allow the construction of a mosque in the West after, or while, either a Christian Church, a Hindu, a Jewish, or a Buddhist Temple is being built in the Islamic World. It's only fair! If you don't like it, move back to the Muslim world. The great majority of Muslims knew perfectly well that the United States and Europe were predominantly Jewish and Christian before they moved there.

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