Quote: “To live well, live hidden”

Quote: "To live well, live hidden"

Iman Kurdi, writing for Arab News:

For a start, I would wager that if you undertook the same referendum in say France or the Netherlands, you would get the same result. That's the problem with referendums: They're democratic. Whereas local councils, ministers, government officials, planning officers and all the other bolts of bureaucratic decision-making have to follow principles and procedures to justify the validity of the decisions they make, the public at large don't have to. Ask the man on the street if he would like to have a symbol of another religion loom tall over the local horizon and the knee-jerk answer is, no thanks. Ask him whether he would like to have a mosque in his back yard and the answer is also likely to be no thanks.

And let's not be hypocrites. If you held a referendum in a Muslim country asking whether the construction of new church steeples should be permitted, you are also likely to get an overwhelming no. So let us not brand this a Swiss phenomenon and let us also remember that it is not the majority of the Swiss population that supported the ban but the majority of those who voted, which if you do the maths comes to 30 percent of the population.

Again that is part of the problem with holding referendums. Only those with strong opinions for or against will make the effort to vote. It is by its very nature a polarizing process.


Essentially the message sent by Swiss voters and now repeated across Europe is one that could be summed up by a French proverb: "To live well, live hidden". In other words, you can practice your religion, but only privately and discreetly. Moreover, there is the idea that Muslims who choose to live in a European country should adopt the ways of the land. The onus is on them to adopt the local culture and the fear is that the opposite will happen.

Source: Arab News (English)

No comments: