Monday, November 30, 2009

Swiss Minarets

The majority of Swiss citizens have voted in a referendum to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland.

I walked beneath the minaret of a mosque on Atlantic Avenue this weekend, hearing the call of the muezzin. It was beautiful. He had a wonderful voice (and not all do!). I have often wondered why I don't hear the calls from home, and came to the conclusion that there must be some kind of decibel limit imposed by a noise ordinance? In Cape Town the call to prayer near the Bo Kaap is part of what makes the Cape the Cape. In Brooklyn it is part of what makes Brooklyn Brooklyn. In Istanbul it was bedlam, and beautiful.

Now, no one can accuse the Swiss - whose mountains I love - of major cultural diversity, but for a people renowned for tolerance (to those with money?), this is a shocking vote for racism.
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