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Don’t Ignore Swiss Majority Rights

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According to various advocates of minority rights, there has been an unprecedented rise of xenophobia throughout Europe. Proof cited includes an increase in hate crimes, job and housing discrimination, and denial of religious rights, such as the minaret ban in Switzerland last November. U.K. MP Denis MacShane calls the ban "vicious xenophobia" in his recent Newsweek obituary, "The End of Switzerland."  In their report, 'The 2008 Hate Crime Survey', Human Rights First (HRF) warns this may lead to “a climate of increased racism. If the climate of hatred rises, then racist violence and hate crimes tend to ascend too.”

The HRF report covers the 56 OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) countries. Unsurprisingly, the main transgressors are countries whose persecuted minorities are fleeing to Western Europe. France and Germany actually reported a 20-23% decrease in hate crimes between 2007 and 2008, while the U.K. had a modest increase of 3.7%. As for Switzerland, which doesn’t keep statistics since few such acts result in punishable crimes, HRF managed to find seven instances of aggression against asylum seekers, two of which were attacks on buildings where they were being housed.

On the other side we have the Swiss majority, whose motivation for any possible xenophobic tendencies is ignored. Can majorities never be victimized by minorities, then?

The Swiss don’t think so, and find a correlation between their 70.8% foreign  prison population and an increase in burglary, rape, and muggings. Thus the right wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) mounted an anti-immigration campaign (with posters depicting two giant black crows gripping Switzerland in their huge beaks), opposing a 2009 referendum that would continue and extend the free-movement-of-labor agreements Switzerland has with 25 EU Member States to Bulgaria and Romania.  The Swiss passed the referendum anyway, by a 59.7% majority, but this was barely noticed by the media. Not so the proposed minaret ban referendum, which was widely covered both before and after it passed as xenophobic at best, and a crime against humanity at worst. Is it any wonder that an increasing majority of Swiss feel their rights are ignored or invalidated?

Human rights advocates may point to genocides of the past to justify their fixation on minority rights. But attacking majorities who themselves feel threatened by their immigrants will only encourage more nationalistic manifestations like the Swiss minaret ban.

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About Bea Curtis

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Interesting how NOBODY here wants to comment on the very real threat that Wahhabi extremism, terror and criminality poses to Europe.

    Very interesting article, Bea. Are the incitement laws such in Switzerland that you have to veil your meanings in the article and watch your words?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Bea, you may enjoy this article from Pajamas Media.

  • bea curtis

    Thanks Ruvy – good article. Didn’t realize I was being veiled, but at least I broach the subject nobody dares to comment on here! If you want to see unveiled comments about the perils of EU immigration, see those made on Stefan Thiel’s uninformed Newsweek article in the March 5th issue.

  • zingzing

    i think a lot of people don’t even notice articles until someone comments on them, so don’t pat yourself on the back to hard. you might cough up something.

    but that 71% statistic is troubling. maybe they are xenophobic. i thought the minaret ban was pretty stupid, and a real backwards way of trying to solve whatever problem they perceive.

    still, your last sentence does bring up the other side of the problem. this stuff is only going to get worse before (if ever) it gets better.

    ruvy: “Are the incitement laws such in Switzerland that you have to veil your meanings in the article and watch your words?”

    wow. paranoia breeds paranoia… what on earth would make you assume that, ruvy?

  • zingzing

    forgot an “o” up there.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    ruvy: “Are the incitement laws such in Switzerland that you have to veil your meanings in the article and watch your words?”

    wow. paranoia breeds paranoia… what on earth would make you assume that, ruvy?

    I know something about how continental attitudes towards freedom of speech work – and they are very different from what Americans view as freedom of speech. Check out, as an example, this article on what a political party may or may not put in its platform in the UK. This restrictive mentality is found all over Europe – as well as the leftist judiciary in this country.

    What it amounts to is a breakdown in equal application of the law. Muslims in Europe and Israel can call for the death of Jews or the death of democracy, or whatever – and nothing will be done to them. In Israel, the Jew who says or writes, “no Arabs, no terror”, or wears a shirt with a picture of Rav Meir Kahane, z”l, hy”d, is arrested for incitement (another term for “hate speech”).

    The problem with “hate speech” laws is that they are inevitably enforced with a bias – and this effectively suppresses freedom of speech. In Israel and in Europe, that bias allows Muslims to get away with calling for murder – and with murder as well.

  • zingzing

    i know, ruvy, but while bea’s article/pov does lean towards the nationalism side of the problem in switzerland, it’s even-handed and fairly non-judgmental. i don’t see how anyone could have a problem with it. and it’s apparent from the article that hate crimes aren’t punished in switzerland the way you describe above.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    thought the minaret ban was pretty stupid, and a real backwards way of trying to solve whatever problem they perceive.

    No, zing, the attitude of the Swiss is far healthier than that of the Brits or the French, who act like dhimmis, kissing Arab ass all the time.

    The Swiss banned minarets. From their point of view, minarets represented attempts by Muslims to assert superiority over them. That is why they voted to ban them.

    A lot of all this is psychological. In small Swiss villages, a minaret standing as the tallest building is an attempt at dominance. And the Swiss were having none of it. Good for them!!

  • zingzing

    “From their point of view, minarets represented attempts by Muslims to assert superiority over them.”

    ridiculous.

    you act as if the swiss are silly children.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    you act as if the swiss are silly children.

    No, the Swiss are not silly children at all. Here in Israel, Muslims live in their own neighborhoods. Segregation is the preferred method of life in this part of the world (and almost all of Asia). The result is nobody is really that bothered by minarets as trying to overshadow the neighborhood. That is because they don’t. What does bother people here is the multiplicity of minarets all going off at once, signaling Muslims to come to First Prayer (around 04:30 in the morning), and Fifth Prayer (around 22:30, late at night). The Muslims were willing to keep the minarets silent in Switzerland – but the Swiss, like most Europeans (and most people around the world who are rooted to their native areas) are very sensitive to the way buildings are placed.

    Americans, who are not really that rooted at all, but rather footloose, do not have that consciousness. Don’t believe me, zing. Just look in the mirror.

  • zingzing

    “Just look in the mirror.”

    ok… i see me, and a wall behind me.

    “Americans, who are not really that rooted at all, but rather footloose, do not have that consciousness.”

    that may be true, but the way you originally framed the swiss reaction, it brought to mind a frightened cat more than it did a thinking human being.

    “Segregation is the preferred method of life in this part of the world…”

    of course, that is one of the reasons you have such conflicts.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    zing, the bottom line here is that Americans have big cultural blind spots – and one of them is being generally unconscious of how buildings are placed.

    “Segregation is the preferred method of life in this part of the world…” of course, that is one of the reasons you have such conflicts.

    That and $2 will get you a ride on the D train.

  • zingzing

    “the bottom line here is that Americans have big cultural blind spots – and one of them is being generally unconscious of how buildings are placed.”

    that’s both true and untrue. because our cities are relatively young, we have an advantage in urban planning that other, older nations do not. so we actually can/have actively thought about where buildings are placed. but it’s true that we may not care as much about the situation you describe. but that may be because of something in our national psyche, the part that’s egalitarian, not because we’re blind to it.

    “That and $2 will get you a ride on the D train.”

    $2.25. keep up. plus, segregation and millions and millions in treasure will get you a region in conflict. i like being on the cheaper side of that equation.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    $2.25 for a lousy subway ride? That is 15 x 15¢!! Just shows you what a lifetime will do to the value of a dollar. To think, I got my first job for $1.75/hr. Boy, does this make me feel old!

  • zingzing

    yeah well, the ny mta is a horribly-run organization. the price of a monthly pass has gone up by about 35% since i got here, just two and a half years ago.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Now that I think about it, the minaret of our local mosque is (not counting the university campus across the street) the tallest building in the neighbourhood for quite some distance.

    But you know what? Nobody – including me, until just now – really notices. That’s in spite of the fact that the area of Fresno where the mosque is situated is a suburban sprawl that goes on for miles. Nothing goes over two storeys, except for the many cedar trees in people’s yards.

    I think that’s because architecturally, the mosque is fairly understated and doesn’t really stand out despite being on a main road. Especially since they painted it beige a year or so ago. It was white before.

    In Europe it’s a different story. With so many old buildings, there’s much more sensitivity to whether a new structure fits into the neighbourhood. In Britain you can’t, for example, just saunter in and build a dirty great ten-storey parking structure in the middle of a street of Tudor houses. You, shortly followed by the members of the local council’s planning committee, would get lynched.

    I suspect that’s part of how the thinking went in Switzerland. Many Swiss towns and villages are not only picturesque but also deeply, historically, archetypically European – and a modern mosque with a minaret just doesn’t go.

  • Clavos

    …a modern mosque with a minaret just doesn’t go.

    …Not to mention all them modern Muslims roaming around amongst all them lily-white Swiss Christians…

  • zingzing

    ooooo. switzerland–how you gonna rise up?

  • Clavos

    Freeze all the world’s politicians’ bank accounts?

    Come to think of it…

  • zingzing

    money makes the world go ’round, clavos. maybe you don’t like the way it’s turning, but if it stopped… you wouldn’t like it either.

    lesser evils suck. while it’s not anywhere near as good as it could be, it’s what you can get.

  • Lou Knee

    The entire ” liberal experiment ” which European politicians have been driving forward seems to be unravelling.Greece which seems to be running cap in hand to everyone who will listen was allowed to join the great experiment, even though it had no chance of adhering to the Euro monetary line.Spain and Italy seem to be in bad economic shape too. One wonders just how long German workers will want to start enjoying their retirement at 67 whilst subsidising Greeks who retire at 62.It is not just Switzerland which is getting swamped by an influx of foreign faces and getting its jails filled by foreign nationals. The same phenomenon is being reported from throughout W.Europe. When faced with so many people who have different values,expectations and cultures it seems to me that the Swiss and indeed all majorities have the right to try and keep the status quo in their society.That is surely how they want their society to run.Far from bowing to liberal heckling it seems as if it is time for many of the majorities in Europe to say enough is enough and even to start turning back the clock on the recent short sighted population movements which have been encouraged by our liberal politicians.Giving shelter to refugees is one thing.Giving up your way of life slice by slice like a piece of salami is something completely different.

  • Raphael

    I`m a Swiss who voted in favour of the minaretr ban and I would like to thank the author for that article which finally takes note of the rights of the democratically acting majority. We Swiss see what is going on in the big cities of the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and we`re absolutely not willing to let such an ethnical change happen here in our tiny country. We`re a European, Christian country and we want to preserve that heritage

  • bea curtis

    Thank you for your comment. Nice to see someone from the ‘silent’ Swiss majority speak up!

  • Raphael

    Well, it got almost impossible to say something critical concerning immigration or islam. Our state TV is 100% PC “gleichgeschaltet”, the newspapers normally ignore any opinion that is not left-wing and there`s of course still the possibility to be sued and convicted for “racism”. The only public place more or less open to free speach is the internet