I’m not always the biggest supporter of the editorial line taken by Harry’s Place but the posting by David T on the decision by the Swiss in their referendum-canton-vote-thingy to ban the construction of minarets outside mosques there is spot on. The move is misguided and can only serve to whip up malcontented Muslims further in their feelings of being discrminated against. Such sentiments are often imagined and contribute to a culture of victimhood but here they appear to be legitimate.
I spent Friday morning at Kingston mosque (partly for research purposes) at what is their best attended day of the year when some 2,000 worshippers attend Eid prayers and a good-natured spirit prevailed throughout. A police officer and community support officer were on hand as part of their normal beat and all parties got on, taking tea together in a side room. If there was any complaint it could have potentially been about the restrictive council CPZ/mosque-goers annoying residents by double-parking but even that didn’t seem to really surface. The Royal Borough of Kingston then seems to be giving Muslims space to practice their religion but the news from Switzerland is a massive step backwards in community relations. Don’t know how far this can be put down to a system of decision-making suseptible to demogogery and knee-jerk reactions but let’s just say I’m glad we don’t share an analagous process in the UK – heaven know what would happen to public policy on hanging.