Quote: "Islam is by now a Swiss and a European religion"
I agree with Tariq Ramadan on one point here: the message of this referendum is that the Swiss don't want to see the Muslims. But his conclusion is exactly what the Swiss fear. Islam might be a religion in Switzerland, just as other minority religions, but it is not a 'Swiss religion".
Muslims want full equality, but the Swiss are only willing to give them 'minority' status.
Ramadan's incomprehension can be seen in the example he gives:
The minarets are but a pretext – the UDC wanted first to launch a campaign against the traditional Islamic methods of slaughtering animals but were afraid of testing the sensitivity of Swiss Jews, and instead turned their sights on the minaret as a suitable symbol.
He's right, of course, the minarets are just a pretext, but I'm surprised that he's not aware that kosher slaughter has been banned in Switzerland for more than a century, and they're now considering banning importing kosher slaughtered meat into the country as well.
The original reason for the ban was simple:
At the time, Jews had recently been granted full civil rights and some Swiss citizens feared an invasion of Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe, who they considered to be unassimilable, foreign and unreliable. By banning the performance of a core Jewish ritual, the Swiss people found a disguised way to limit the immigration of Jews into Switzerland
Tariq Ramadan is fooling himself when he thinks that what Judaism couldn't do in hundreds of years of being in Europe, Islam could do within the short span of a couple of generations. The more Muslims assert that "Islam is Swiss", the more the Swiss are going to actively reject the notion.
Tariq Ramadan in the Guardian:
The campaign against the minarets was fuelled by just these anxieties and allegations. Voters were drawn to the cause by a manipulative appeal to popular fears and emotions. Posters featured a woman wearing a burka with the minarets drawn as weapons on a colonised Swiss flag. The claim was made that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Swiss values. (The UDC has in the past demanded my citizenship be revoked because I was defending Islamic values too openly.) Its media strategy was simple but effective. Provoke controversy wherever it can be inflamed. Spread a sense of victimhood among the Swiss people: we are under siege, the Muslims are silently colonising us and we are losing our very roots and culture. This strategy worked. The Swiss majority are sending a clear message to their Muslim fellow citizens: we do not trust you and the best Muslim for us is the Muslim we cannot see.
Who is to be blamed? I have been repeating for years to Muslim people that they have to be positively visible, active and proactive within their respective western societies. In Switzerland, over the past few months, Muslims have striven to remain hidden in order to avoid a clash. It would have been more useful to create new alliances with all these Swiss organisations and political parties that were clearly against the initiative. Swiss Muslims have their share of responsibility but one must add that the political parties, in Europe as in Switzerland have become cowed, and shy from any courageous policies towards religious and cultural pluralism. It is as if the populists set the tone and the rest follow. They fail to assert that Islam is by now a Swiss and a European religion and that Muslim citizens are largely "integrated". That we face common challenges, such as unemployment, poverty and violence – challenges we must face together. We cannot blame the populists alone – it is a wider failure, a lack of courage, a terrible and narrow-minded lack of trust in their new Muslim citizens.