Swiss Minarets

The Swiss people had themselves another referendum recently. They are very proud of their direct democracy and go to the polls pretty regularly in order to vote on this issue or that. The parliament is bound by these votes.

This past issue was brought by an anti-foreigner political party and was geared at forbidding the building of minarets in Switzerland. There was no apparent current issue that provoked it, it was just a fundamental vote to see where people stand.

Well, 60% were for the measure, which caught liberal Swiss by surprise. All of the polls had indicated that the measure would be voted down. But apparently, when asked, the Swiss public was too chicken to tell the truth, but at the polls, alone with the ballot, they voted with their hearts.

Oops. Now what do they do? I spoke with a number of people during my short visit to Switzerland, they were quite ashamed for how their own country was acting. And they are at loss as what to do. They can't really get rid of their plebiscites. They can't easily get this one declared illegal.

Pupils in schools have been building minarets, some of them even lasting a few hours on the roofs of their schools. I think the easiest way would be to just build towers, put a clock in them, and declare them to be clock towers, not minarets. There are clock towers all over Switzerland, and no one would dare try and forbid them.

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