One would think there are few countries in the world more liberal than Switzerland. After all, the country has universal health care, proudly displays its human rights and tolerance and gives out Nobel prizes. All of these facts only heighten the disappointment that was felt by many, myself included, at the bill that passed in Switzerland on Nov. 29 that banned any minarets to be built after the four existing ones in the country. This bill successfully displays Switzerland's hypocrisy when it comes to religious freedom.
A minaret is the slender tower of an Islamic mosque where the muezzin recites the adhan (call to prayer). Thus, it is an essential part of the Muslim religion. According to the Los Angeles Times, a lawmaker from the Swiss's People's Party, Oskar Freysinger, explained, "The minaret is a symbol of a political and aggressive Islam." He continued by telling BBC News earlier this year that "the minute you have minarets in Europe, it means Islam will have taken over."
However, minarets in Islam are no different from church bell towers in Christianity, which were historically used to call those in the village around them to pray.
In Freysinger's theory, all bell towers would be equally harmful and dangerous. Numerous injustices and deadly practices have been committed by members of the Catholic and Protestant churches and their many sections. Yet there have been no public outcries to halt the building of bell towers. This shows a bias behind who is considered dangerous and who is considered perfectly safe.
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