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 Post subject: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:40 am 
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In another thread we started discussing this topic, so i am trying to move this topic.
fyi:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8385069.stm

To start the discussion:
I don't think it was wise to ban minarets. With this ban you begin to stigmatize minarets and with that, the whole islam. In our current world state being sometimes something like christianity vs. islam, i think it is very important to open dialogs and not to raise walls.
On the other hand: The people of Swiss voted in accordance with their democratic system.

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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:36 pm 
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I don't think the Swiss are necessarily opposed to Islam, what they might be opposed to is the symbolism it represents. A 'mosque' in Islam is any place which is used for worship, not necessarily a building used primarily for that purpose. A Muslim can use their own home as a public place of worship, in which case it would be called a 'mosque.'
So mosques don't have to have minarets.
A minaret is a very outwardly obvious symbol of Islam, as is the Islamic call to prayer. It is suprising how buildings seem to figure so importantly in displaying the general culture of a society, even its dominant faith or religion.
The minaret, (in my view) is a sign of Islam as an increasingly dominant force in society. The Swiss obviously didn't want this so they banned them.
Was it wise to do so? Difficult to say.
Perhaps someone else could add to this???


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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:35 am 
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Ok Susan.

Just to follow the thread of that thought.

If the Swiss decided that there were " too many " minarets, then what of all the massive Catholic churches? ( not that I actually know there are a lot of them in Switzerland having never met anyone from Sweden besides a team member who hasn't been around in quite a while. )

I mean, even in a small town like the one I live in, the two Catholic churches are massive. I have seen a couple in bigger cities and they are absolutely monstrous.

Should the crosses on top of those churches ( not to mention the sheer size of most of the Catholic churches in Europe and America ) also be named in a referendum because of their symbolic meaning?

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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:44 pm 
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[/quote]Should the crosses on top of those churches ( not to mention the sheer size of most of the Catholic churches in Europe and America ) also be named in a referendum because of their symbolic meaning?[/quote]


I think it depends on whether you think Christianity should be seen as the dominant religion in Western society.
Some people say it should not and we should all have a level playing field, where all religions are represented equally.
I have a problem with this line of thinking, because Western society is built on the very foundations of Christendom. The religious symbols representing that cultural heritage have more right to be here than any religion from a foreign country.
The great churches and cathedrals are doorways to our past, not just places of worship. Our very laws are the products of a Christian heritage, even the way we have built our cities and our homes.
Islam by contrast is foreign to my country, and perhaps to yours as well. It has only recently arrived on our soils, although this is not the case with some European countries. Spain for instance, was under Moorish rule for some five hundred years until they were driven out by the Crusades. Militant Islamists want to retake many of the European lands that were once under their rule. They still see it as their territory.
Islam can make no such claims over Britain, since it is a recent newcomer. We have always been a Christian country every since Augustine set foot on our soils.
There have been attempts to undermine that Christian heritage in recent years with the banning of crosses and bibles in places of work. I think this is a huge mistake whether we believe in the Christian teaching or not.
We certainly should not be pulling down the crosses on our churches as well, since such great buildings represent where our culture and way of life, at root, came from.


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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:14 am 
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I cannot fully agree with your point that western society are "built on the very foundations of Christendom". Christianity was not the first religion in the world and most of its ideas weren't entirely new. Modern Christendom was built on a foundation of countless other religions, whose customs and rituals were incorporated in the christian belief system. The worship of saints in southern italy (and elsewhere) e.g has ist roots in paganism and there are many many more examples.
So Christianity as we know it, is not exactly our only root. And it could also be argued, that it is not the most important for our western societies. Without the Aufklärung (age of enlightenment) e.g. in the 17.-18. century, christian belief today would present a whole different picture and, more importantly, the early democracies in France and USA would not have been as progressive as they have been.

As i stated before: When you stigmatize aspects of one religion (the christians are good at that given their history), you are on the way to make Islam a 'bad' religion, something to cast out over your own religion. You will find it very difficult to be tolerant ("Hey, this religion is bad because..."). Perhaps we (Christians, Moslems and the rest) should spend more time finding similarities instead of throwing verbal and real grenades at each other.
(I meant 'you' in general, not 'you' susan :smt001 )

I also never heard that islamic extremist want to retake Vienna, Spain and Greece? Their problem lies more in 'our' constant meddling, i think.

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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:01 pm 
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I certainly agree that Christianity is full of pagan symbolism and many of its practices are rooted in pagan belief and ritual. But Christianity and yes, the Enlightenment too helped to shape the society and attitudes we have today in the West, but not Islam, as far as I know, until recently.

Yet it is clear that the Swiss don't want any more minarets built.

To add another angle to the debate, part of the problem with Islam is that it isn't just a religion. It's a whole way of life, with it's own laws, customs, rituals. It is another way of life, gives rise to a different society and different set of laws.

How can you incorporate Islam into Western society without tensions arising?

Also, is it right to allow more mosques to be built in the West when Christians in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Muslim world face persecution for their beliefs and even inprisonment or death for practicing their faith?

The argument is that as a democracy we should be tolerant and allow freedom of worship despite what other countries do?

But I am not sure that we should be so accommodating when churches are not allowed to be built in some Muslim lands. Shouldn't we be taking a stand (like the Swiss) and sending out the message that our culture and way of life must not be 'swamped' by another.

Anyway, Shaalae, I'll leave you there as I'm hoping someone else will have some imput into the discussion. Cheers. :smt038


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 Post subject: Re: The swiss voted against minarets
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:32 am 
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susan wrote:
I certainly agree that Christianity is full of pagan symbolism and many of its practices are rooted in pagan belief and ritual. But Christianity and yes, the Enlightenment too helped to shape the society and attitudes we have today in the West, but not Islam, as far as I know, until recently.

Yet it is clear that the Swiss don't want any more minarets built.

To add another angle to the debate, part of the problem with Islam is that it isn't just a religion. It's a whole way of life, with it's own laws, customs, rituals. It is another way of life, gives rise to a different society and different set of laws.

How can you incorporate Islam into Western society without tensions arising?

That is not a problem as long as you don't have radical believers on both sides. There are many Moslems in my country and the intergration works perfectly when both 'sides' are tolerant and understanding. The Moslems have to learn the language and our way of life, and our laws and within that, everyone can do what he wants and, as i said, that works fine, if there are no pigheaded extremists around.
Quote:

Also, is it right to allow more mosques to be built in the West when Christians in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Muslim world face persecution for their beliefs and even inprisonment or death for practicing their faith?

The argument is that as a democracy we should be tolerant and allow freedom of worship despite what other countries do?

But I am not sure that we should be so accommodating when churches are not allowed to be built in some Muslim lands. Shouldn't we be taking a stand (like the Swiss) and sending out the message that our culture and way of life must not be 'swamped' by another.

Wasn't one of the main messages of the New Testament that you should not be vengeful? To present the other cheek, when you were hit on one? Or something like that? :-)
Christians persecuted other religions, and sometimes still do, for centuries and i think now is an important time to stop that and try to be tolerant and understanding. Tensions between religions are high enough without adding more fuel to a conflict between religions, which is, when you look closely, mainly a conflict between extremists and media.
Quote:

Anyway, Shaalae, I'll leave you there as I'm hoping someone else will have some imput into the discussion. Cheers. :smt038

:smt001 Yeah, it is more fun, when more people state their opinions... but it is a nice discussion, thank you for that :smt023

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