The words “This is not my Switzerland” appear on a banner next to burning candles and a model of a minaret on the Bundesplatz square in front of the government building in Bern. The display protests Swiss voters’ acceptance on Nov. 29 of a national initiative to ban construction of minarets.
Recognizing that this week’s popular vote to forbid the building of minarets in Switzerland represented a blatant show of religious intolerance it couldn’t ignore, an association of Jewish organizations is expressing its strong disagreement with the ban and calling on Swiss leaders to defend religious freedom. —KA
The Jerusalem Post:
Rabbi Pinchas Dunner, executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis, an Orthodox organization, said “a war on religious freedom cannot defeat Islamic extremists. The best weapon against radical Islam is support for moderate elements in the Muslim community and promoting interfaith dialogue.”
In contrast, the Anti-Defamation League tied the move to religious discrimination against Jews.
“This is not the first time a Swiss popular vote has been used to promote religious intolerance,” said the ADL in a press release. “A century ago, a Swiss referendum banned Jewish ritual slaughter, in an attempt to drive out its Jewish population.”
Noting that the “Swiss government opposed the initiative during the campaign and underscored its commitment to religious freedom in a statement after the vote,” the ADL urged Swiss leaders to “be vigilant” in their “defense of religious freedom, even though the SVP is the largest party in the Swiss Parliament and has two of the seven government ministries.”