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So much for peace-making.

On November 29, the Swiss government voted to impose a national ban on construction of minarets. In Islam, minarets are the prayer towers located at mosques – the place where the muezzin makes the call to prayer (or adhan, heard here). The ban will now be added to the Switzerland Constitution.

The government claims the vote was not intended as a rejection of the Muslim community. But it sure sounds like one. And it’s a little surprising, given that the United Nations has an office in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Swiss seem to put forth a face of religious understanding.

This type of ban is different from now-typical lawsuits against religious regalia/fixtures in the American public square. The minaret is located atop the mosque – private property in many countries. Granted, a government can regulate how you build (check out this story about a cross in San Antonio). But when it comes to common religious architecture, it’s like telling a group that they cannot create a worship space the way it has been done for centuries. Imagine the government telling a church it cannot have stained glass windows. Or telling a synagogue that it cannot have an ark.

It’s certainly a bit invasive, very intolerant. Indonesia calls it “ignorant.” Here’s hoping they reverse the ban soon and allow everyone to freely express their religious beliefs…especially in the privacy of their own houses of worship.

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

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