Europe in the 21st century is a multicultural continent, with multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-religions societies (including non-religious people) - and Switzerland doesn't seem to belong to Europe today.
The Swiss have shown that they truly don't want to belong to this continent by rejecting that minarets may be built together with mosques. They have shown to the world that they want to be a place apart from European values.
These values might have evolved in societies where the majorities were and are Christians, but they have also evolved on a continent that seemed to have learned that religious freedom - the freedom to believe or not to believe whatever one wants - as other individual and collective freedoms need to be respected.
These values have evolved in a continent where migrants and children of migrants and grandchildren of migrant are not a small minority anymore but an integral part of this our common society. In this society, having churches, church towers and their church bells must by as possible as having a minaret with a mosque - or as drawing satirical cartoons about Jesus and Mohammed.
The Swiss referendum rejects this European history and these European values, it is a rejection of the Europe of the 21st century, a Europe where majorities don't rule over the rights of minorities, where minorities are not threatened by what is "normal" or "acceptable" for the majority.
In the Europe we live in today, we try to find common solutions that allow the respect for the freedom and dignity of each and everyone, although this is hard sometimes. Yes, it might be necessary to debate about the shape of a free and multicultural society, but rejecting religious freedom including the right to build appropriate buildings in which this religion may be performed is not the solution.
This victory of xenophobia in Switzerland proves how much we have to fight for the rights of every citizen and person on this continent, it proves that what we regard as given today may be lost tomorrow - and I as a German think I know what I am talking about.
The Europe the Swiss have voted for today is not my Europe, and I hope no country of the European Union will ever follow this sad example!
PS.: And regarding the argument that "this is democracy", I just want to add that decisions against particular groups are decision against equal rights, thus against the foundation of democracy. Had the Swiss voted against all high towers representing a religious or non-religious belief, this would have been a democratic decision respecting its own foundations - forbidding just minarets is discrimination.
“Die EU gibt es gar nicht”
5 hours ago