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hear, hear

Reader comment on item: The Swiss Ban on Minarets: A Possible Turning Point
in response to reader comment: DOUBLE STANDARD

Submitted by Charles Ripley (United States), Dec 30, 2009 at 18:34

Lou,

I commend you for the observation that placing limits on religious tolerance in the West is very different from the type of religious opression and persecution that exists in the Muslim world. The radical Muslim fringe loves to apply that double standard, whining when the West attacks an Islamic symbol like the minaret, or a stupid cartoon in a newspaper, meanwhile calling for the vicious murder of innocents and the destruction of Israel. Another commenter on this very page called the Swiss vote a "terrorist" act. To say there's a double standard is actually complimenting this type of hypersensitive, distorted, childish name-calling.

I agree with you that Muslims who oppose this ban have absolutely nothing to complain about; the Islamic nations do not, by law, tolerate non-Muslim cultures. The United States and the Europen Community are based on secular notions of individual freedom and respect for others, which is why a Muslim can build a mosque here. Basically, you can't cry when I ban your minarets if you won't even let me wear a cross in your land.

That said, there is room for dissention on this vote within the confines of our liberal, Western society. Like it or not, we must remain tolerant of religion. While I agree that banning burkhas and face-coverings has a legitimate social purpose, I just don't see what banning minarets accomplishes. It just seems to be an attack at a symbol and, historically, attacking the symbol only elevates its symbolism. The Swiss may have inadvertently made the minaret a martyr in this cultural war. Even if the vote is later overturned, the Muslims will not forget it. While I can appreciate the viscral appeal of revenge, I think the vote was a mistake.

Fortunately, our US constitution outlaws us from being faced with this dilemma by guaranteeing free exercise of religion (including the religion of the "Musselmen," as our Founding Fathers called them). Were such a vote permissible in the US, I would probably vote in favor of it. Fortunately, our constitution prohibits Congress from even putting this question to the mob, and thus protects our way of life.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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