At Georgetown/On Faith, Katherine Marshall, Co-Chair of the SSRC Religion and International Affairs Advisory Committee, reports on how Swiss society has dealt with the 2009 passage of a referendum to ban construction of new minarets.
Posts Tagged ‘minaret ban’
Ruthie, Grace and David here, reporting live from the IWM International Summer School in Philosophy and Politics in Cortona, Italy. We are here with forty graduate students and post-docs and an inspiring group of faculty from over 20 countries to explore a range of issues related to religion in public life. And over the next two weeks, we look forward to sharing some of our discussions with the readers of The Immanent Frame. Today we would like to talk about an issue we discussed in the first session of our course on “The Role of Faith in Public Discourse,” taught by Nilüfer Göle and Michael Sandel.
With a Muslim constituency estimated to be between four and six percent of its total population, Switzerland is hardly in danger of being converted into a caliphate. Nevertheless, the country’s Muslim communities were sent a clarion signal last week that their religion is perceived as a threat. While the ban on the construction of minarets, which was favored by 57.5 percent of the Swiss population in Sunday’s referendum, may well prove inconsequential in itself, it occurred within the broader context of the recent political ascension of the Schweizerische Volkspartei, or Swiss People’s Party, the country’s foremost purveyor of less than thinly veiled anti-immigrant sentiment.