4. Your Religion Is Fine, It’s the Architecture We Hate
Like the United States, Switzerland’s Constitution protects the freedom of religion. However, that fact didn’t prevent a popular vote from adding a sentence that explicitly banned minarets in the country. Minarets are tall prayer towers, a type of architecture specific to Islamic buildings.
Although Swiss officials promised the Muslims in the country the vote was “not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion, or culture,” it was most definitely precisely that. By banning one of the most prominent symbols of Islamic culture for arbitrary reasons, it is a clear declaration that the majority of Swiss people don’t even want any visual reminders of the Islamic faith.
5. To Protect Freedom of Religion, We Must Prevent Freedom of Religion
When wealthy Saudi Arabians offered to fund the construction of a mosque on behalf of Muslims in Norway, Jonas Gahr Store, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, forbid the money from being allocated to his country for that purpose. While Norway does proclaim itself to have freedom of religion, officials stated that it wouldn’t be right to allow people from Saudi Arabia – a country which does not allow residents to practice Christianity – to promote a diversity of religions in Norway when it doesn’t even do so in its homeland.
Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. The best way for Norway to advocate for religious freedom is not to limit it within its own boundaries out of spite. Why not demonstrate how a nation can benefit from a diversity of cultures rather than exhibiting Islamophobic tendencies?
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