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Jewish leader says Swiss vote shows Europe's growing anti-Muslim views

DDP/The Local · 2 Dec 2009, 17:43

Published: 02 Dec 2009 17:43 GMT+01:00

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The council's general secretary, Stephan Kramer, said that the referendum in the Alpine country on Sunday could be “neither euphemised nor re-interpreted.”

“With relative certainty, there's not a single country (in Europe) that doesn’t have more or less similar fears of Muslims and they would have had similar results in a referendum,” he said.

Kramer encouraged a more open discussion about how such a referendum on basic rights could even come to a popular vote. The Swiss, Germans and others were not "born to hate foreigners or fundamentally against Muslims," he said, adding Europeans were not engendering an atmosphere of trust.

“Those who want integration instead of assimilation, and really means it, must create a climate of mutual respect, acknowledgement and trust,” he said.

Ideas such as the “integration contracts” like the one proposed by Germany’s integration commissioner last month, headscarf bans and other “legal condescension” do not achieve this purpose, he said. Instead they are “damaging populist activism.”

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While Muslims are regularly accused of an unwillingness to integrate or engage in dialogue, the majority of European society does “very little” to be hospitable or respectful, he said.

“A climate of trust can only happen if Muslims are naturally entitled to the right to their own religion, culture and language, and cultural diversity is considered to be a benefit and enrichment to our country and not a threat or burden,” Kramer said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:23 December 2, 2009 by Jibzy
Wow. I appreciate his thoughts and i hope someone in the Muslim world would also open his heart and mind enough to say something like that on a global platform.
16:17 December 2, 2009 by moistvelvet
Kramer makes a good point, directed precisely at those who if living in say Saudi Arabia would perhaps be determined to hold on to some Western cultures and values.

The fear some people have of Islamic stormtroopers going house to house with mind altering ray guns is laughable, however it is not funny when you consider that it is hypocracy in the name of freedom of expression, opposing people's right to follow a religion while our own society imposes elements of Christianity on us whether we wish to follow it or not, i.e. Sunday shopping!
16:25 December 2, 2009 by maxbrando
Why is it the Europeans (or any other Westerner) has to like muslims? There is nothing in our laws requiring us to like anyone. Only the socialists and communists required this and, if you did not , you were arrested and proscuted for "crimes against the state" or "antisocial behavior". Why is integration so mandatory these days. Do you see muslims opening their arms to Christian immigrants?
19:37 December 2, 2009 by bramblebush
There is something fundamentally wrong with a culture that doesn't drink bier, doesn't eat pork, hates the image of nude women, eats with their fingers and hates dogs. They need to follow the Philistines into oblivion...
00:10 December 3, 2009 by nepo77
Assimilation is the only way, integration has failed.
03:13 December 3, 2009 by CalBill
It's very high-minded to say "we'll allow minarets (and Islamization) in Europe even though Islamic countries either do not allow other religions to function within their countries or they harrass/harm them if they do". The problem is that Islam does not believe in a seperation of church and state and (look at Turkey) it's followers will always strive to create an Islamic state and destroy secular democracies. It's about time someone (the Swiss) had a referendum on this -- every country in the EU should.
03:15 December 3, 2009 by Davey-jo
Whenever the democrats "democ" there is always someone who will try to gainsay the majority. Germany does not have a quarter of the democratic process that Switzerland does yet it and other European countries are running scared before this result. I do not understand why.

In my country (UK) there is practically no democratic input into planing at all; it is totally under the control of government who can push through anything they want. This is not democracy it is tyranny. I'm not familiar with other countries planning regulations but I suspect none come close to Switzerland's for openness. We should demand that we all get the same access to decision amking as Swiss citizens get.
09:32 December 3, 2009 by raiteki
@ Comment #28

your comment is so funny (in comical way that is :D)...except for eating with fingers, I mean there are several foods from wherever that is, which should be eaten with fingers, because of the tradition that comes along with it ;)

other than that, I like every point that you wrote..especially beer & women..hmm yummy heh?
10:38 December 3, 2009 by Neutral
As usual with stories related to Muslims, this list of comments is very long! Anyways, I am also inclined to think that fundamental rights or hunman rights (by definition, are not to be negotiated by any means) should not be put to referendum. However, more important is the substance of the referendum. If the referendum is directed to all minarets, then there should not be much problem. If directed to only one religion, then there may be some problem. But, still we have to determine whether construction of minarets is a vial part of religioius freedom. If not, then it is not a breach of fundamental rights. It may only be a case of bias.

What is more important than all these religious symbolism, is the right of non-discrimination in day to day life. European society should by any means uphold the principle of non-discrimination in the practical lives of religious minorities. This is very much part of fundmental rights or human rights. No pretext of tit for tat with some behavour of some Muslim countries or behavoud of some immigrants should keep the European society from guarnateeing the fundamental rights to its citizens- be he/she of native European descent or immigrant background.
13:07 December 3, 2009 by nipa
Islam has being in existence for almost 1500. It is an utmost exaggeration to think Islam as a violent religion. With one quarter of the world population are Muslims this world would not have existed for that long if Islam teaches violent.

The past bloodsheds that killed millions and millions of people, (World War I and II) had nothing to do with Islam. Muslims didn¦#39;t start those aggressions. The recent atrocities by a very small number of people who claim to be Muslim had victimized Muslim the most due to the prejudices of the West. Now Muslims in Europe are worried for their safety and security.

With the exception of some Arab countries, most Muslim countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, etc. respect people of other faiths. Since you are so proud of your European value why don¦#39;t you allow also such a beautiful atmosphere to exist here in Germany and Europe as well.
17:54 December 3, 2009 by dwnb01

"He was absolutely right to speak out.

The referendum gave people the ability to display their racism anonymously.

It should never have been held"

This is probably the most idiotic thing i've ever read, anywhere. Islam is a religion you fool, not a race - therefore how can the recent Swiss vote be 'racist'?

Run along and buy your copy of the Guardian - the days of being able to silence debate by crying 'racist' simply doesn't work anymore - but someone forgot to tell the Labour government, and people such as yourself...
08:51 December 4, 2009 by kamioner
Stephan Kramer is two faced. He is American born and American raised. I live outside of New York in Riverdale and we have many muslims in the Bronx...please leave the minarets in Saudi Arabia and the Swiss Chalets and Switzerland, the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Ice Skating Ring in Rockefeller Center. And the Jewish Stars on synagogues.
22:12 December 4, 2009 by DrGideonPolya
German Jewish Council official Stephan Kramer is quite correct in his observations for which he must be congratulated. Anti-Semitism involves damaging actions in word or deed against people for being ethnically or culturally Semites as such. Semites include 15 million culturally Semitic Jews, 300 million ethnically Semitic Arabs and 1.5 billion culturally Semitic Muslims. Anti-Semitism comes in 2 equally repugnant and evil versions, anti-Jewish anti=Semitism (e.g. European anti-Jewish anti-Semitism culminating in the WW2 Jewish Holocaust, 5-6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany with 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and anti-Arab anti-Semitism , including Islamophobia (e.g. post-9-11 Muslim violent and non-violent excess deaths in the US Wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter also involving Germany, total about 4 million each i.e. 8 million in total). Switzerland is involved in both anti-Jewish anti-Semitism (greedy retention of Jewish Holocaust victims' savings) and anti-Arab anti-Semitism (this latest offensive Islamophobic decision). All decent, anti-racist folk can do is to BOYCOTT Swiss banking, insurance, holidays, watches, milk products and chocolate. 4 additional red lines on the Swiss flag would powerfully symbolize the Swiss reversion to anti-Jewish anti-Semitism, anti-Arab anti-Semitism and "democratic Nazism". All international organizations should leave Switzerland.
17:13 December 7, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Wait a minute Dr.Gideon, your statements make no sense at all. If a person goes on to your profile and looks at the other topics you have commented on, a person will see that you make anti jewish or aniti israeli statements on almost every one of them. Yet on this topic you make negative statements about those who are anti semites, in support of the jewish people. Now i'm not an anti semite in any way, but your statements are very contradictory to many of your early statements on other topics, which indicate that you are no doubt a jew hater. One of your obsurd statements among many is that israel had a hand in the 9/11 bombings. You need to get your storys in order.
10:26 December 15, 2009 by mylinktahir
"Switzerland¦#39;s vote to ban mosques with minarets was an expression of Europe's deep-seated aversion to Islam" Stephan Kramer has concluded thus. First of all, the referendum over such issue is illogical and immoral. It was an effort to sabotage Muslims Christians relations and leads to create delusions among Muslims and European Christians. Second, being Muslims we believe that Jesus Christ was not crucified. So, for us the cross is a symbol that is based on lie, should we have a referendum too, to eradicate cross, saying it spreads lies and threats or such things, inside Muslim countries? Nevertheless, we Muslims are neither allowed to demolish the religious places of others nor bound to clutch other believers to have this or not. I hope none from any European country and others will practice such. Third, for me the conclusion Kramer made was quiet immature. How he implied that to whole Europe? I am feared that he might use the vote verdict to the world opinion, thanks he retained that just to Europe. Kramer¦#39;s warning is just a sugar-coated endeavour to add fuel to fire. Fourth, for Europeans, Islam is not such alien as rumours are being spread by false propaganda currently. I will quote just a western writer to have a glimpse of Muslim European historical relations. BERNARD LEWIS says ¦quot;From a historical perspective it would seem that of all the non-Western civilizations in the world, Islam offers the best prospects for Western-style democracy. Historically, culturally, religiously, it is the closest to the West, sharing much-- though by no means all-- of the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman heritage that helped to form our modern civilization". Fifth....just tell... whether ISLAMIC teachings have been changed or West is no more inclined to learn from others? Surely, it was the thirst of knowledge that liberated west from ¦quot;dark ages to enlightment¦quot;, again if westerns are reverting to narrow-minded biased approaches, like voting on such non-issues, it¦#39;s a benchmark they are heading on to own a new version of dark ages. Surely, this time they are sophisticatedly well-equipped, what can they do? Yes they can kill much more than before. Can west, civilized, cultured or any other have a pride over such disastrous talent? Its the time to review¦quot; Europe¦#39;s deep-seated aversion to Islam" like clichés and find new ways of mutual cooperation, a constructive prosperity for humanity and be aware of the KRAMER like bi-faced swords.
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