Switzerland: Minaret referendum was a vote against the spread of Islam
According to a new analysis the supporters of the minaret ban weren't voting against Muslims, they were voting against the spread of Islam. It doesn't matter whether Islam is compatible with Swiss culture or, as Tariq Ramadan claims, 'Islam is European'. I think this supports my view that the bottom line here is that the Swiss want Switzerland to be Swiss. They don't mind Muslims living there, but they do not want Muslim culture taking over.
The minaret ban vote split based on political preference. More than 80% of Leftists rejected the minaret ban proposal, compared to almost as many on the Right who supported it. 11% of the extreme left and 85% of the extreme right voted for the proposal.
Contrary to assumptions made after the referendum, just 16% of leftist women supported the ban, compared to 21% of leftist men who supported it on some level. On the other hand, 87% of right-wing women supported the ban, compared to 71% of men.
Interestingly enough, 49% of those who thought Swiss and Muslim lifestyles were very compatible supported the ban.
According to the researchers, the most common reason for supporting the ban was that it was a vote against the spread of Islam and the social model it propagates. The analysis can be downloaded as PDF (German, French, Italian), but even there there's no real breakdown of the reasons given by the supporters.
24% - The minaret is a symbol of Islamic supremacy [this does not appear in the PDF]
17% - a reaction against the discrimination of Christian churches in countries where Islam is strong.
15% - vote against Muslims in Switzerland
November’s vote against minaret construction in Switzerland can be seen as a signal by voters against the spread of Islam, according to analysis of the result.
Vox Analysis, a study regularly done after nationwide referendums to understand voter choices, found that the vote was not against Muslims or foreigners in principle.
The authors said Swiss xenophobia was not the main reason why the ban on the construction of minarets was passed by 57.5 per cent of voters on November 29. About 40 per cent of citizens who favoured equal opportunities between Swiss and foreigners also backed the minaret ban.
“For many voters it wasn’t against Muslims in Switzerland,” said political scientist Hans Hirter from Bern University at a presentation of the results on Monday.
He said the survey showed that about two-thirds of voters considered Swiss and Muslim lifestyles to be compatible.
This might appear contradictory but it becomes clearer when those who voted “yes” were asked about their motives.
“The minaret is a symbol of Islamic supremacy,” was by far the most popular argument (24 per cent) for backing a ban on future minarets. For the ban’s supporters, it was about making a “symbolic gesture” against the spread of Islam in Switzerland. A closer look by the vote analysis showed that even people who voted against the initiative agreed with this stance.
The argument that the initiative violated human rights - often heard before the vote – did not convince, the survey found. Even those who turned down the minaret ban did not agree with the argument.
Around one in six voters said their decision was a reaction against the discrimination of Christian churches in countries where Islam is strong.
Source: SwissInfo (English)