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Danish, Dutch Populist Parties Want Referendums On Minaret Ban

A minaret installed on the roof of a Turkish cultural center in Switzerland.
A minaret installed on the roof of a Turkish cultural center in Switzerland.
(RFE/RL) -- It's been criticized as an expression of prejudice at odds with European values of tolerance. But in a referendum on November 29, Swiss voters approved a ban on the building of minarets.

And now populist parties in Denmark and the Netherlands say they want referendums, too.

The calls came from two parties known for their tough stances on immigration.

Geert Wilders, head of the Dutch Freedom Party, told the Dutch daily "Volkskrant" that his party "will call upon the government to make a similar referendum possible in the Netherlands."

And in Denmark, Danish People's Party head Pia Kjaersgaard welcomed the Swiss ban and said her party would also seek a similar vote.

Martin Henriksen, a deputy for the Danish People's Party, acknowledged that Denmark currently had no mosques with minarets. But he told RFE/RL that Muslim immigrants have to adapt to Danish society, not the other way around.

"There are plans in Copenhagen and other Danish cities to build grand mosques, and we oppose it in every way possible. And this could be another way to oppose it," Henriksen says.

"The reason why is because immigration that has taken place in Denmark up to 2001 when the Danish People's Party gained influence in the parliament has shown a lot of problems. We have seen in schools, public institutions and workplaces there are certain rules and standards forced in by some Muslims in Denmark. That is why we have to set our foot down."

Sign Of Prejudice

The moves by the Dutch and Danish parties come amid a flurry of condemnation of Switzerland's ban from around Europe and far beyond.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union Presidency, called it a sign of prejudice and possibly fear.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was shocked and hoped the Swiss would reverse the decision.

The UN's expert on religious freedom, Asma Jahangir, said the ban amounted to an "undue restriction" on religious freedom and "clear discrimination" against Switzerland's Muslims.

The Vatican weighed in, too, saying it heightens the problems of cohabitation between religions

And the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Islamic grouping, said it was an example of growing anti-Islamic incitement in Europe.

However eye-catching today's calls for copycat referendums are, though, it's not clear they would have much chance of success.

Switzerland's system of direct democracy allows for a referendum to be called if a proposal gets 100,000 signatures.

In Denmark, 60 votes are needed in the 179-seat parliament to call a referendum. The Danish People's Party only has 25.

In the Netherlands, the Freedom Party, with nine deputies, would appear to have an even slimmer chance of getting its way.

The Netherlands has held only one national referendum in the past 200 years -- the 2005 vote on the EU's proposed constitution.
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by: Anonymous
November 30, 2009 17:21
If a similar referendum will take place , the ban will receive the majority of voters support in both countries. This will only foster more polarization between the Moslim and non- moslim world and jeopardize the western presence in Afghanistan and Iraq ..

by: Ethan from: USA
November 30, 2009 19:31
When the Islamic world allows complete cultural reciprocity to the west ie 100% religious freedoms in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria ... then their opinion matters, as far as jeopardizing our efforts in the Afghanistan and Iraq is concerned, the idea that we are propping sharia governments with American blood is beyond disgusting. Islamic norms have no business being even being observed in the west.

by: Boris
November 30, 2009 19:33
there are meny discriminated minorities inEurope,Gypsies for instance.But authorities,press defend just one of them -muslims and their active religion.Why?The influence of more than billion believers,money ,oil?

by: Anonymous
November 30, 2009 20:19
The hypocrisy of Islamic countries and peoples is beyond belief. Are Christians allowed to build a new church in Saudi Arabia? In Iran? In Iraq? In any Islamic country, minorities are completely forbidden to practice their religion openly. This ban only forbids the building of minarets, not mosques. Listen up, Middle East, and open up your own societies first,.

by: LA from: Australia
December 01, 2009 01:19
This has nothing to do with predjudice or racism. The liberals and the left wingers will of course call this as such. However this ignores reality on the ground.

Th reality is that the Swiss have expressed, in the most democtraic fashion that they are Western, predominately Christian country and culture, and they wish to preserve culture, traditions and architecture. They have concerns that allowing unchecked immigration from Muslim countries will have on the country and have acted accordingly.


by: Sergey from: Chicago, Illinois, USA
December 01, 2009 04:34
Fully agree with Swiss voters who wanted minarets banned. Islam cannot be viewed merely as a religion but also as a totalitarian social and political project aimed to bring Islamic Sharia law throughout the world. In this aspect, Islam (at least totalitarian and imperialist movements within Islam that countinue to exist starting from the foundation of Islam 1400 years ago) is similar to Communism and Nazism. Communists and Nazis also claimed that they want peace, but their vision of "peace" was to have the entire world under their rule. Islamization should be agressively resisted no less if not more than attemps by Soviet Union and its allies (including radical liberal and leftist Western intellectuals) round the world to turn the world communist or socialist.

All these talks of by Islamists and their useful idiot allies of "intolerance" should be ignored and rejected. There should be 0 tolerance toward violent and intolerant political and religious movement that wants to turn the rest of the world into 7th century Arabia or Afghanistan.

by: Julien from: Berkeley, Ca.
December 01, 2009 06:33
It is indeed jolting to see that Switzerland has adopted this interdiction on minarets. However, I do not hear the same sense of outrage, condemnation, and chastising about the persecution of Christians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Christians are threatened, murdered, kidnapped, or outright forbidden from practicing their religion. A disturbing trend has developed over the last thirty years of kowtowing to the Arabic-speaking Muslim world for fear of backlash because of oil exports. There must be dialogue and tolerance on both sides. If Muslims cannot and will not assimilate into the cultures of their host countries because of religious reasons, then they need to move to a country where it is not a problem. The burka is a symbol of degradation in France, so be it! Then do not move from Afghanistan or another country where this is the norm. The history of migration has always been one of assimilation and coexistence. Who in the HELL is screaming about female journalists, who are not Muslim, being forced to wear the hajib in Iran? This is the same kind of intolerance and unwillingness to accept others.

by: Orhan Ertugruloglu from: the Netherlands
December 01, 2009 07:48
The vote should not be considered about minarets in Switzerland. The country has 160 Moslim praying centers and they are not concentrated in one Canton in Switzerland. . There are only 4 mosques with minarets and they are scattered in the country. Swiss people has accepted the proposals of right wingers and racism and by doing so intolerance and prejudice have won the day. Plus this decision caused concern among local Muslims of Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and England. The Europe's demographic ballance has changed due to migrations after the Second World War. The Population in West Europe is now ethnically became more diversified. The vote reflects the identity crises which Europe is undergoing and this in turn causes Europeans to put a distance between themselves and ethnic groups .One should not underestimate this . I am afraid of the wider repercussions of this referendum.

by: KODRA from: Morocco
December 01, 2009 11:15
SAVE THE BRIDGE, Against Islamphobia & Terrorism

SAVE THE BRIDGE is the title chosen by Mohamed QRAYIM (independent filmmaker living in Morocco) for his last 30 minutes documentary that speaks about the glorious past of the relations between Scandinavia and the Islamic world and today’s relations, especially after the cartoons crisis in Denmark. The documentary comes on the first meetings between the Muslims and the Vikings through stories of some explorers and traders from the two sides like Ahmed IBN FADLAN and Carsten NEIBEUR. The first part of the film is characterized by the participation of some Scandinavian scientists and some Muslims like a historian, an archeologist and a tourist, who present both the Scandinavian and the Islamic civilizations as the richest in the world. Through the opinions of these people, the director tries to use the theory of "civilizations dialogue" which is considered by many as the main solution to give up all kind of racism and terrorism.
IMPORTANT: You can watch the trailer of the documentary in this link:

http://www.qbproduction.com/QB_PRODUCTION/Save_The_Bridge. html
NB: (you should wait until the finished download of the video. you will need QUICKTIME…)





Mohamed QRAYIM

Phone : +212661448819

Casablanca

Morocco


by: Tranparancy from: Middle East-Oman
December 01, 2009 12:09
To Orhan Ertugruloglu from: the Netherlands: You are a moslim living in Western Europe, I am a European Catholic living in the Middle East. Mention me one country in the Middle East or any Islamic country in the world allowing Christians to build Christian Churches the way they do as in Europe??? And as you are living in the Netherlands you know exactly what is wrong and why many muslims are not willing to integrate. It is your own will and your own responsibility to integrate.
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