Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Swiss against the Minaret

Minaret a symbol of aggressive Islam. The largest political party in Switzerland's parliament has begun a campaign to ban the building of minarets, saying the minaret is not necessarily a symbol of worship but a symbol of Islamic law.
"The move has shocked Switzerland's 350,000 Muslims, many of whom have been campaigning for decades for more recognition for their faith.
In theory Switzerland is a secular state, whose constitution guarantees freedom of religious expression to all. In practice however mosques in Switzerland tend to be confined to disused warehouses and factories.
Across the country, there are only two small minarets, one in Zurich and one in Geneva, neither of which are permitted to make the call to prayer. In Switzerland's capital Berne, the largest mosque is a former underground car park. "
[Read how the Swiss view Muslims here].
We think that the developed Western world is more tolerant to religious diversity. No way. But if the minaret is on the riyals and dinars - and Muslim sheikhs and oil-rich countries bank in billions of Euro and USD's worth in Swiss banks - I don't think the Swiss banks will be concerned.


  1. the Swiss are silly people ... but if I am to switch the texts to Malaysia ... thus it reads;

    In theory Switzerland(Malaysia) is a secular state, whose constitution guarantees freedom of religious expression to all. In practice however mosques (churches/temples) in Switzerland (Malaysia) tend to be confined to disused warehouses (shoplots) and factories.

    ie we are all equal, equally discriminated that it!

  2. This should not be. Minaret and dome are not symbol of extremism but place of worship. I am surprised as the West is more tolerant towards religion. Hey, they even tolerate gays, lesbos, sects and quirks.

  3. Hamzah, you faster than me.

  4. Rocky!
    Here a bit of a blast from the past! I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the beginning of the ethnic cleansing remember!?
    Well one night in Croatia I had a conversation with a Croatian colonel who has been to Penang, he said and I have always known this: "The ethnic cleansing here on Bosnia is about getting rid of the Turkish-Islamic symbol of influence, we have to start by destroying hundreds of minarets and mosques in the region."
    Well I am not the least surprise of the suggestion by the right wing political party in Switzerland to suggest the same. Thus far Muslim cannot be allowed for the call for prayers there, Singapore is doing it also! So Rocky one cannot blame the European for being wary of Islamic influence, for the region was once controlled by the Ottoman all the way to Hungary! Did you know that the is a grave of an Ottoman Sultan somewhere in Austria or Hungary, the headstone is still there! So life must go on, and the only advise is for Muslims to get their shit together or no one is ever going to be sorry for them f they are invaded or colonised, I don't, if that were to happened!

  5. Anonymous4:12 am

    In practice however mosques (churches/temples) in Switzerland (Malaysia) tend to be confined to disused warehouses (shoplots) and factories.

    Haha... then what with the biggest sleeping Buddha in kelantan? was it a warehouse? if it so, then.. i wonder, who made a warehouse like that... hurmmm...

  6. Anonymous6:51 am

    Hamzah or Stevie,

    I think you are a very distorted man ( or an idiot) as you cannot be comparing the situations here in Malaysia to Switzerland. We see churches and temples being built and allowed to be built here in Malaysia. Just look at Batu Caves and its big Dewa Murugan statue; isn't that a place of worship? Just go to PJ or Kelana Jaya or anywhere in the country for that matter and you will see that this country gives the freedom to build and worship openly to any religion. If there are any warehouses or shoplots or factories being made into a place of worship; there must be a good reason for it but most definitely the reason is not because the government prohibits the construction of temples and churches. Granted that there are some dissatisfactions pertaning to the issue but it is the policy of the government to let churches and temples be built. The situation is different in Sitzerland where the government has taken an official stand against minarets where it is seen as a symbol of agressive Islam. I'd like to suggests that you put on your thinking cap first before commenting.

  7. Anonymous7:07 am

    Hamzah, you have written well. "An elephant on the eyelid can't be seen, but an ant on the other side of the sea can" Thank you

  8. Anonymous8:40 am

    not only sleeping, sitting and about 3-4 statues of buddha.....
    maybe PAS have a big warehouse....hmmm....

  9. Rocky,
    I have always tried to stay clear of getting entangled in religious debates as emotion takes over reason all the time.
    I wonder if you are aware that Christians are unable to get approvals for the building of churches?
    They have faced untold restrictions and oppositions from the Muslim community and UMNO.
    That is why they have to gather in 'churches' on the top floor of shop-houses.
    Yes, there is relative religious freedom here but the future isn't promising.

  10. Anonymous9:35 am

    Dear Rocky,
    The West tend to be selective as far religious tolerance is concern.The going in France and Swiss is the trend the rightist are taking and its getting very popular whipping boy ,this Islam Brand thing.
    Like you rightly pointed out much of the petrol dollars and Euros are residing in Swiss bank would be better off be brought to Muslim countries for development investment.Swiss the same anal retentive people who stashed all Nazi wealth decided to be holier than thou,and they are showing the way for Europe to deal with terrosist religion.

    The West had succeeded in labelling Islam as terrorist religion now needing to abolish the symbol as well.Swiss has shown the way and yet Muslim dollars and euros are supporting the very people that spit on Islam.

    I have no doubt that the right wing party shall win the election as they got the right whipping .

    Lets more muslim read this all over the world and we shall see.

    Poor Farmer

  11. Anonymous9:51 am

    Dear all,

    Islam is a beautiful religion. I was a buddist previously, and embraced Islam almost 10 years ago.
    Discussing sensitive issues like this mite trigger an unpleasant atmospehere in Malaysia.(i still have to respect my relatives, siblings and mum who are the devotees of Buddhism)
    Regarding minaret issue in Switzerland, i guess the Islam countries may ban importing products manufactured by Swiss companies. Maybe its an insult (indeed it is). Will they remove domes as well?

    for the love of god - "ellry"

  12. Anonymous11:00 am

    Moving away from local religious tolerant topic (not that it is not interesting) but I feel that the Dinars and Dirhams can do something towards this issue. It is unbelievable what the Swiss is doing and I am sure they would be more tolerant when they see several Trillions move out of their banks.

    Pak Din

  13. Maybe because the minarets offend the sensitivities of the non-Muslim majority.

    Maybe they were being built too close to a nearby Church.

    Maybe the nearby villagers feel that the minaret will become a meeting place for bad hats who will ride their noisy motorbikes on Sunday morning, thereby drowning out the sermons.

    Maybe the minarets simply do not have council permission or infringe upon the skyline policies or the land use has been re-gazetted for other use.

    Maybe the Swiss muslims should simply shut up and never, ever question the Swiss Social Contract and the rights and privileges of the indigenous Swiss people. The Swiss muslims were after all, granted Swiss residency in return for accepting the Swiss Social Contract and the rights and privileges of the indigenous Swiss people.

    Hmmm, doesn't feel so good now that the shoe is on the other foot, does it? How do you like them apples now?

  14. Saudara Rocky

    Minaret sign post of the future
    It is where it is laid to measure
    The landing of tomorrow
    Don’t we all see it now?

    The devils get worried
    Camouflage in power
    Rulers of men and women
    Metering out laws and regulations
    Saying it is good for the nation(s)

    In theory we live in paradise
    Or perhaps heavens so incline
    In reality we see the imperfections
    There is no yin-yang
    We struggle; we know it isn’t in vain

    For every harsh treatment
    There will be grace
    The gong will sound
    The music will be played

    For those in religious faith
    Love your neighbors
    This is what we must do
    The peace and harmony
    Lie in our hands and souls
    This is our minaret
    A sign of light
    A hope of a new dawn

    30/5/07 11.05am

  15. Bro,
    this is not about religion but an ethnic race making a stand in an otherwise unfamiliar and adopted country...of course the religion bit is thrown in for universal sympathy and dramatics !Surely not every one is allowed to board the gravy train and the presence of 'others' might be a treat to the locals. And also to gain popular votes by rightist politicians...you know how our own politicians like to play up the religious bit to gain that extra mileage and stir up our emotions...right ? Why then would the Arabs still hoard their wealth in Swiss banks, knowing very well that the Jews own and control most of the banks in Switzerland ?...again they play with our emotions, bro !

  16. Anonymous12:17 pm

    For a person who gets intoxicated and gambles you now write about Muslims being surpressed.

    And the decision of Lina Joy's case is to protect Muslims like you.

    Guess the modern ideology of Islam is better have hypocrites then to lose the numbers.

  17. They are on a slippery slope here. First they saw that some terrorist were Muslims, they think all Muslims are terrorists. Then they think everything about Islam is related to terrorism, aggressiveness and domination. It's like saying all Christians with the mafia since the mafiosi used a saint's image in their initiation rituals. Statements like these assume something which is not.

  18. Very odd. I've been to Switzerland a number of times, and I see it as a very tolerant country. There hasn't been any religous persecution in this country for hundreds of years. I guess there is a growing right-wing conservative trend in Europe, same as in France, Austria, Germany.

    However, before people in this country get too worked up, I would suggest they take a good look at themselves. Many local councils in Malaysia (not PAS Kelantan) have very strict planning guidelines on the exterior of non-Muslim religous buildings.
    I was heavily involved in fund raising for a local temple. The initial design got rejected by the Majlis Perbandaran because it "may offend other religions" meaning it looked "too Chinese". The final design, which was approved, basically looked like an office building.

    Tell me, is this any different from the news quoted above ?

  19. Anonymous1:06 pm

    The truth is the Wedt has never known what freedom is. Likse Bush said when he wanted to bomb aljazeera, "freedom is mess", yes it is messy now. They accuse Muslims of this and that but when we compare the notes, God the Almighty. U will wonder if they are humans in many ways.

  20. Anonymous1:32 pm

    i like your comment mr. elephant eyelid......good shoot!

  21. Anonymous1:43 pm

    Mr Smitch

    I think malaysia started to learn it from the west.

  22. [ ]
    More than 48,000 people have petitioned the Government to "abolish plans for the £100m mega-mosque" with a capacity for 12,000 worshippers beside the London 2012 Olympic park in Newham, East London.

    The Government said that the issue could "raise tensions" and did not expect any planning application to be made in the "near future".


  23. Anonymous2:00 pm

    This has come about only because of the violence being promoted by Islamists everywhere. The call to jihad which includes the klling of infidels. The incendiary talk of spilling blood by extremists like Umno youth.
    At the end of the day, it is not about banning images but whether you can still worship freely. And in Switzerland, you can.
    Here, you can build churches and temples, but Malays are not allowed to worship in them.
    No wonder people are paranoid.

  24. Anonymous2:49 pm

    Dear Rocky and All
    i can't stop myself laughing reading the opinions and comments of readers. funny! well I guess if Swiss claims freedom of religious expression to all, then those not allowed to practise openly and/or loudly - its about time to move out from that Swiss garden or create another Lebanon/Palestine history that never ends. can't blame the Rich Sheikh and Oil-Rich leaders since they are all Camel-thinking humans.... people can not assume Camel's thinking to run company or country..... Something to ponder!

  25. it's quite shocking to hear that this happens, but as far as i'm concerned, Swiss peoples are treating muslims very well.

    Last year, there was a group of tabligh from Malaysia went up there to give their lectures. There was no problem at all.

  26. Anonymous3:07 pm

    Is it any surprise what the swiss has done? I am only surprised that the other non-moslems majority countries have not done so in one way or another, with plenty of religious intolerance examples spewing from the moslem world daily (forced conversion, death for apostate, etc).


  27. Anonymous3:54 pm

    there's a church near my house, not far from a mosque... and it's not a shop lot.. and they have their cross on the roof. And it's in Kelantan.

  28. Anonymous8:35 pm


    Fight for we Malaysians man, instead of the Swiss. Temples are being destroyed, churches are discriminated, people like Lina Joy cant do what she wants, and here you are wasting time with Swiss roll.

  29. Anonymous9:52 pm

    yea and ive seen churches being built almost everywhere. wats the fuss?

  30. Anonymous10:47 pm

    Funny how bhuddists, hindus, toaists, bahais, zoroastrians, agnostics, atheists, sikhs have no problems in Switzerland. It is time Muslims look in the mirror instead of fingering others as the source of their troubles.

  31. Anonymous12:27 am

    Hey then lets build MaZu in Kudat then. Why all the objections.

    Why dont the gomen give RM 100 million for the construction of churches and temples? Its a small sum when compared to the billions spent on mosques. After all the money is public money.

    And let us have that Muslim-Christian dialogue. Why ban or "postpone" it?

  32. why are churches and other temples of worship not allowed to be built in an islamic state, such as Saudi Arabia and others?

    The muslims have no moral right to point fingers at others when they disallow other religions to build places of worship in their country.

  33. Anonymous4:23 am

    Seantang, your whole posting was based on one operative word "maybe". None of them were verified and from the report it seems that their government took a stand that minarets equals terrorism. This is the issue at hand. No one here in Malaysia says that churches or temples equals terrorism. It's not about the social contract, it's not about the difficulties of obtaining approvals for such buildings or whatever that you can conjure. It's about the misconception of Islam in the eyes of the Switzerland government.

    To kittykat46; whether or not local councils prefer one religion against another is another issue. The point is there are churches and temples built and allowed to be built by the government. Your issue is about the difficulty and bureaucracy of obtaining an approval for such building. But in Switzerland; no minarets are allowed to be built at all. They do not even have to think about the tediousness of obtaining an approval to build a minaret. They are not allowed to build it; period. And these are the differences between the story reported and your story.

  34. All you people who insist that Islam is a sensitive subject and is beyond public discussion, please ask the government to take it out of public life and state affairs.

    after that, go get a fucking life.

  35. Anonymous11:28 am

    Pa'chik, that only proves that the PAS administration is more tolerent towards other religion than what we were told.

  36. This issue was aired on the BBC, a tax-payer funded station. This is the kind of openness that we'd like to see in Malaysia. It is unthinkable that RTM or MediaPrima would air such grievances by non-Muslims on how difficult it is to get approvals for churches and temples in Malaysia.
    Some mentioned the Reclining Buddha, Batu Caves, etc. Please bear in mind that these places were built many, many years ago, when the Islamist groups were not so politically powerful then. In the past 10 - 15 years, things have changed very much.
    The oppressor would not understand the oppressed. What the Swiss Muslims felt (the oppressed), the Malay Muslims (the opressor) here won't. The Swiss Muslims and the Malaysian non-Muslims can actually hold hands and sing "Rasa Sayang" harmoniously.

  37. Anonymous3:44 pm

    Well done Switzerland!

  38. Anonymous4:14 pm

    The issue is not about a country allowing or restricting religious practice.

    The issue is about one group of bigots accusing a religion of what it is not.

    It is fine if Saudi Arabia does not allow temples or churches to be constructed.

    It is not fine if the government of Saudi says the cross is a symbol of something less divine or anything that it is not.

    By the way, if anyone wants to comment on Lina Joy, he should do so.But one must NOT leave it to
    others to fight one's war once too often.

  39. I think Muslims in Malaysia have a lot more to worry about than Muslims in Swiss land, While the CJ Fairuz is correct that entering a religion is no 'flip flop' matter, it would be manifestly unjust for people born into a religion not to have the choice once they are of consenting age. Truly a shame !!!


  40. Anonymous8:08 pm

    The message is the 'enlightened' west cannot preach to us what is right.They are merely hypocrites spreading the ideology of justice, equality etc only when it benefit them. The other message is we do what is right for us.

  41. Anonymous1:51 am

    Stevie, Islam is not a sensitive subject. You can discuss about it; but what is lacking is an intelligent discussion from both sides.

    Anon 11.28; That does not prove Pas is more tolerant. The reclining Buddha was built during the BN administration. Please check my facts if you don't believe me. Pas just took over and made an impression that they were the one who gave the approvals.

    To Fung; Reclining Buddha might have been built when the Islamist group was more powerful; but the statue of Lord Murugan at Batu caves (the biggest in South East Asia) was built recently (meaning when the Islamist group was getting stronger and stronger; so claimed Fung). If you dont believe me check the date of its completion and construction. If they are so powerful the construction will be stopped in its tracks. Therefore your arguement about these groups getting stronger does not hold water.

    and e-slam inc; you took the words out of my mouth.

  42. Anonymous11:54 am

    To al malu my comment is a malay muslim in malaysia remains a muslim at heart no matter how far he folloows the teaching of the God. You cannot just look down on people as there will be a time that he finds his way later insyaallah

  43. Anonymous12:11 pm

    Dear All,
    The issue at hand and what Rocky trying to higlight here is that how the western media had succeeded in making Islam as a religion of terrorism.

    After succeeded in that they proceeded further by saying that Minaret symbolize Terrorism ,which basically labelling 1.5 billion of Muslim as terrorist.

    I sincerely believe that some non muslim in this discussion had bought the massive media onslaught of the west hook,line and sinker.Forgetting that much tolerance exhibited by the Malay in Malaysia is due to the religion they professed ie. Islam.

    The believers of Islam were examined and segregated into Fundementalist,Jihadist and many more ,most written in codescending manner in a very concerted effort.So much names juggled and maligned,eventually all muslim were suspected as terrorist unless proven otherwise.

    There were TamilTiger suicidal bombers ,kamikaze pilots ,Irish bombers and many more people who are willing to die for the cause they believe in(justice,independece,defence or revenge etc) ,none would be associated in religion they believe in unless they are muslim ,to which case they become jihadist,fundmentalist muslim.

    My sincere hope to nonmuslim brother and sisters is not to used the jaundice glasses of the west to judge us muslim in Malaysia.We have been living in harmony for centuries and here came Johnny-came-lately of western Press and my dear brother and sisters started to suspect Malay sincerity and generousity given unconditionally to our fellow brother and sister Malaysian.

    We are here to stay and make a decent living and place for future generations to come.Malay in kg treated the Chinese or Indian as one of their own even at their expense.They never boycotted chinese shop or lay a finger on them.To all gungho of city people killing each other in May 13 we continue living and offered protection and I,continue playing with my best friend ,a chinese boy without care to his skin colour and laughed at it.To look into into their eyes(the majority of Malay in Malaysia) and grouped them in this western codescending labels is the unkindest cut of all.For that i feel slighted as a kg folk and a Malay .

    Old Farmer.

  44. Why don't you use some monikers when discussing in forums, there are so many "anonymous" here.

    To: "Anonymous", you wrote:

    To Fung; Reclining Buddha might have been built when the Islamist group was more powerful; but the statue of Lord Murugan at Batu caves (the biggest in South East Asia) was built recently (meaning when the Islamist group was getting stronger and stronger; so claimed Fung). If you dont believe me check the date of its completion and construction. If they are so powerful the construction will be stopped in its tracks. Therefore your arguement about these groups getting stronger does not hold water.

    Yes, you are correct (about construction timing), but the Lord Murugan statue was constructed in the existing Batu Cave vicinity. Don't you notice that there aren't many new churches and temples around, even when the area is mostly populated by non-muslims?
    Surprisingly, there is a mosque/surau at every corner even when there aren't many muslims living in the area.

  45. Anonymous4:52 am

    To fung:

    I dont know how to use monikers. Anyway, It does not matter where Lord Murugan was constructed. The temple is there. Worshippers go there to worship. You cant have a temple in batu Caves and then have a Lord Murugan Statue in KL or in Perak. Defeats the purpose of building the statue, right?

    And about not many churches and temples around even when the area is mostly populated by non muslims, fact number one you are living in a country where the muslims are the majority. Fact number two there are no official policy by the government that state that an area must build its religious building acoording to the majority of the area. For example if the area is a Christian majority a church must be built. Fact number three as opposed to the Malays who are mostly muslims, the Chinese and Indians are varied in their religion. You see a Chinese and you do not know whether he is a Christian, a Buddhist or a Tao. How are you going to determined what to built without knowing their religion. And by sheer logic alone, being different in religion also shows that the Chinese and indians are actually small in number and therefore not the majority. So howlah you what to build churches or temples?
    Last fact, The mechanics of our religions are different.The malays i.e muslims pray 5 times daily and they view the mosques as a place to go everyday. Do churches and temples work the same way? Do you use it 5 times a day?

    Sorry typo and grammar but i pun malas nak check coz i think those who dont want to accept these facts are just wishful thinkers. Jadi takyahlah nak jaga sanagt gammar pun

    BTW, im the same anon call me Penanak Nasik

  46. Anonymous1:15 am


    BACHOK, Aug 9 (Bernama) -- A 36-metre tall "Standing Buddha" is being built at Wat Phithikyan Phutthaktham in Kampung Balai here.

    It costs RM2 million to build, mostly using funds donated by the public.

    The construction work began in 2002 and was scheduled to be fully completed in 2009, said head priest Pharphochai Acharn Pho Chai.

    Kelantan already has two huge Buddha statues -- the 30-metre tall "Sitting Buddha" in Kampung Jubakar and the 10.6-metre tall and 40.9-metre long "Sleeping Buddha" in Kampung Jambu or Kampung Berok. Both are in Tumpat district.

    The Standing Buddha has a lift inside it which will enable visitors to have a clear view of the village from the top of the statue.

    Five skilled workers and an engineer are involved in the construction.

    The priest said the statue would attract more tourists to Kelantan as even now, people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand had come to see how the work was being carried out.

    With the unique structure, Kampung Balai would be a major tourist spot, he added.

    He said two dragon statues, each measuring 181.6 metres long, made up the perimeter wall of the temple.

    Each is worth RM150,000 and was donated by former priest Archan Phrak Ajchan Porchai in 1992.

    -- BERNAMA

    pas began to rule kelantan in 1990.

  47. Anonymous5:34 pm


    No one was talking about Standing Buddha. We were talking about Reclining Buddha. Standing and Reclining are two different positions.

    By the way, 1990 Pas began to rule Kelantan, 2002 construction began. It took Pas 12 years to approve a Buddha statue to be built. Very tolerant, very tolerant and very efficient too.

    UMNO shared power with other non-muslim component parties, let them build their place of worship since merdeka. Hmmmm...not so tolerant, not so tolerant.

    Pas never gave the inkling that they would share their power ( or even a coalition) that would give non-muslims (non-muslims yeah... not Chinese or Indians who have converted) a say in this country, very tolerant, very tolerant. UMNO and BN have proven to listen to non-muslims and translates it to policies such as Chinese and Indian schools, Chinese and Indian Associations, a Chinese based party ; not so tolerant, not so tolerant.

    Hmmmm....Maybe we need glasses... it does seem that we do have a jaundiced view of things...

    Penanak Nasik

  48. Anonymous3:28 am

    I think this is a very good example of what goes around comes around. If you look at Muslim countries the world over, they have very little tolerance for minority religions right from the start (even within islam itself!!).

    Even in multiracial Malaysia, you have stupid rules like the minorities need X number of people living in the area before a place of worship can be built.

    The world is just catching up with the reality of it all and giving these folks a little bit of their own medicine.