Monday, November 30, 2009

Boycotting Switzerland

The ban on minarets in Switzerland is one of the most outrageous signs of blatant religious intolerance in the 21st century. And it happened by a popular vote: so it can't be blamed on a fringe right-wing group anymore. This is a sign and it is amazing that civil libertarians and human rights organizations did not react with widespread condemnation, as they should have. Something major has happened, and those who ignore it would be repeating the mistakes and criminal errors that were displayed by many in Europe against the early signs of Nazi anti-Semitism. This should result in an international human rights reaction, and should lead to an international effort to boycott Switzerland, the country. The people of Switzerland should be aware how the rest of the world view their vote for religious bigotry. You can't call what happened in Switzerland by any other name. And this is not something that should only be of concern to Muslims: it should be of concern to humans everywhere. Don't get me wrong: I love Switzerland: I love its food and especially its desserts. One of my favorite stays ever was at this hotel in Geneva. I had most splendid nights and a most splendid buffet in that garden that you see here. (I thank my late father for recommending the hotel to me). But the people of Switzerland have spoken, and those who care about equality and freedoms--real ones and not those empty slogans that appear in speeches of US politicians--should speak too.