The Rise of Anti-Islam in Europe
The Swiss Ban Minarets
Europe is facing a crisis. Recently, the Swiss voters banned the construction of Islamic minarets in Switzerland, a country that has always been known for its neutrality. Other surrounding countries such as Belgium have been sited as possible followers of the Swiss example. France is considering banning the burkha, the head-to-toe covering worn by conservative Muslim women.
"Their practices--burkhas, long beards, prayer calls--separate them from the rest of our culture," a French politician said recently. "They refuse to integrate into our society. Perhaps they should remove themselves to an Islamic country. That is, if those countries would even take them."
In the mean time, most Western European nations are facing the same kind of nervous twitch. Does Islam represent a threat to Western culture and autonomy? Do the fundamentalist radicals speak for all of Islam? They seem to think so. Last week, it was reported that the major radical sects have sworn to eliminate any Muslim who cooperates with the "infidel."
The US has more than two million Muslims, more than some Islamic countries. Both sides of the Atlantic will ultimately have to confront this major issue of the early 21st century. Do we stand on the right to freedom of religion for all, including Muslims? Or do we allow fear and intimidation to cause us to go against one of our most cherished beliefs?
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