Swiss Minaret Ban Reflects Fear of Islam, Not Real Problems
The vote will undoubtedly change the image of Switzerland abroad. The country likes to present itself as a neutral guardian of human rights. It is the country where the Red Cross was established and the Geneva Convention was passed. But now the supposed model democracy has violated the human right of the freedom to practice one's religion and has discriminated against a group solely on the basis of their religion.
The ban will have serious consequences. It will not eliminate immigration-related problems in Switzerland, but it will produce major problems for Switzerland in its international relations. The Swiss banks and the Swiss economy, which have close ties with economies around the world, including in the Arab world, will suffer as a result. There may also be damage to the tourism industry.
The ban will damage Switzerland's credibility as a mediator in the eyes of Muslim countries, whether it be as a diplomatic representative of the US in Iran or in the conflict between Armenia and Turkey. And finally it will cause massive damage to the relationship between the Swiss and the Muslims living in the country, promoting exactly that isolation from the rest of society which the initiative was supposedly intended to address.
[Edited 2009-11-30 03:15:48]