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View Diary: The Swiss Vote against Religious Freedom (257 comments)

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  •  Are Swiss Muslims not Swiss? (13+ / 0-)

    When in Switzerland do as the Swiss do.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:03:22 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Good catch. (6+ / 0-)

      Europe still faces way more problems than the US in integrating minorities.

      ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

      by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:09:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are Saudi Christians not Saudi? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Well actually no they are not.

      •  can you explain a bit (0+ / 0-)

        question from germany.

      •  Sorry ... but BS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The EU is way more integrated and has been for a longer time. One of the issue at the moment is the massive influx of immigrants from Muslim countries and the toll on social services. Unlike the US, even immigrants get free health care and, depending on the individual EU member state, other social services as well. Like the Hispanic populations in the US, the immigrants from North Africa, Middle East etc., often have extended families which follow the breadwinner as soon as he is able to get citizenship.

        I lived in Greece for 25 years and saw up close what 'opening' the borders does to a country. Greece went from a safe, no one locked their doors, walk on the street at night unmolested, financial sturdy country to a major outpost of the Balkan and Russian mafias, social services system overloaded and financially insolvent with a debt now 103% of GDP.  

        So ... as far as I am concerned, the Swiss have voted and made their decision. They voted for what they believed was right for them.

        •  so shouldn't (4+ / 0-)

          the solution be to restrict immigration than to adopt discriminatory measures once the immigrants are there?

          You can't have it both ways. Europe benefits economically from having a labor force of Muslim immigrants. Either it affords them with dignity and human rights, or it chooses to restrict their rights, as Switzerland has done. But if it goes down that path, let's no longer pretend there is anything "progressive" about the way Europeans deal with questions of citizenship and immigration.

        •  I can't reply (0+ / 0-)

          since I have no idea what even your first sentence means. How is the EU "way more integrated" and for a longer time than the US?!  

          ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

          by Anak on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 05:33:46 PM PST

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    •  Isn't that a Saudi Death Penalty? (3+ / 0-)

      Let's say a Hindu is practicing a sacred Hindu ritual in public in Saudi Arabia. That Hindu could do his/her ritual in Switzerland all they want to, but in Saudi Arabia, isn't it illegal? Isn't there a death penalty on the books for that sort of religious behavior by non-Muslims?

      Seems like a one-way street. Do you hear complaints from Muslims about any hindrance given to other religions that are practiced in Muslim-dominated lands? No, rarely, if ever. Given that state of affairs we shouldn't be surprised if countries, such as Switzerland, copy the Saudi model. What goes around comes around.

      Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

      by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:12:24 PM PST

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      •  Um (13+ / 0-)

        What does the Kingdom of Saud have to do with anything?  And for that matter, what evidence do you have of religious freedom for Hindus in Switzerland?

        I really fail to understand the point you are making.  In the Saudi kingdom, no one has anything resembling rights.  Period.  It is an absolute dictatorship.  The policies of the Saudi kingdom are in no way reflective of the will of its citizens, much less reflective of the will of all Muslims.  Further, Muslims are neither a monolith nor a body politic.  Comparing the Swiss, who are in some form an ethnic group and in another form a sovereign nation with a republican government, with Muslims, which is a term encompassing over a billion people, of hugely varying religious sects, national identities, and ethnic and cultural groups, is akin to comparing apples and superconductors.

        Finally, I'll point out that if one cares to, one can easily find individual Muslims who complain about each and every aspect of the governance of Muslim-dominated lands.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:23:28 PM PST

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        •  Um . . . so that's a Yes? Death! (0+ / 0-)

          With 3 slow strokes of the sword?  Sounds plenty xenophobic to me.

          Equal standards for all. Maybe Muslims in Switzerland will get their minarets when they show that they value the religious freedom of others. Perhaps as those millions of pilgrims meet in Mecca, that great center of Islam, they can pray for that wonderful, fair tomorrow.

          Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

          by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:33:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I grow bored of this (11+ / 0-)

            Equal standards for all. Maybe Muslims in Switzerland will get their minarets when they show that they value the religious freedom of others.

            This is a statement utterly without substance, as no evidence has been shown by you (or anyone here) that Swiss Muslims don't value the religious freedom of others.  Swiss Muslims are not responsible for the views of all Muslims, nor of particular Muslims in other places.  As such, the practices of Muslims in other places have no relevance, unless you wish to express bias towards anyone of the Muslim faith based on the actions of individuals who share that faith.  

            By which logic, I'm equally justified in saying that perhaps I won't treat all Christians as child rapists when the Catholic Church cleans up its act.  Perhaps when those millions of Christians are opening their presents under their trees in a few weeks, they can receive the gift of no longer being a bunch of despicable shits who rape kids and then cover it up for decades.

            Good night.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:39:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  May Religious Freedom Exist EVERYWHERE (1+ / 0-)
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              And who could disagree with that?  Perhaps even bored people will wake up and agree?

              Greenspan admits his free market faith was "a mistake" - Reliance on self interest creates a flaw "in how the world works."

              by Otherday on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:48:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Most people disagree with that (9+ / 0-)

                Few people support the religious freedom of Mormons to be polygamous.  Few people support the religious freedom of Christian Scientists to prevent their children from receiving medical care.  Few people support the religious freedom of Hindus to enforce a strict caste system.  

                Most people oppose unfettered religious freedom.  Most people support a degree of religious freedom, one which does not abridge other forms of freedom.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:53:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  qwerty (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jay Elias, IreGyre
                  "Few people support the religious freedom of Hindus to enforce a strict caste system."

                  You seemingly imply that Hindus would actually want to "enforce a strict caste system"; if that's what you meant, then that would be an utterly false implication for you to make or state. If you dsiagree, then please provide a link to any poll (of Hindus or Indians) where 50% or more expressed support for enforcing "a strict caste system."

                  In reality, a mostly Hindu leadership of India put in place a quota system that allocates at least 27% to 75% (depending on the state) of jobs, seats in prestigious and other schools and universities, etc, to "lower" castes and minorities, to lift them from the state where imperial and colonial regimes left them in, after India attained self-rule following a 1300 year occupation and subjugation by foreign invaders, during which time those invaders and proselytizers abused the caste system (which was originally an occupational classification in what was a rural-agrarian society, not unlike how occupations were passed on from generation to the next by heredity in the rest of the world in 800 AD, i.e. before universities and technical schools came to exist) as divisive political football to further their respective nefarious agendas. Also, it's the mostly "upper" caste Hindu teachers that lifted a 5-10% literacy rate among "lower" castes (overall literacy was 5% in 1901 and about 17% in 1947, and 65% in 2001) at the time of the departure of the British up to 55-60% in 2001.

                  This Hindu (a "lower" caste one, actually. My father became an engineer thanks to the quota system. I became an engineer and then a scientist without any help from the quota system. I not only did not face discrimination from "upper" caste folks and teachers at any time during my schooling in India, but I wouldn't even have known about India's prestigious IIT's that I attended, had an "upper" caste Brahmin family friend not told me about them and helped me with some initial tips on how to study for the entrance exams that the IITs have. Back in India, I had friends from every caste, religion and creed. Even as a school kid (but a topper in school), I helped a Dalit buddy of mine with his schooling which helped him pass exams and move on to higher studies) would vehemently oppose if anyone were to even float such a nonsensical proposition as enforcing "a strict caste system."

                  Whatever remnants exist in India of caste based discrimination (mostly found in less developed villages) must be eradicated (as should discrimination of all kinds that exist in just about every country out there), but at the same time, temptation for non-Indians to caste-bait about Hindus and the Indian society, while lacking any in-depth understanding of the history and the ground realities in India, must also stop.

                  Here is a very interesting article for one to read. Relevant because Brahmins get pilloried and castigated for the caste system by people that know very little about India.

                  Are Brahmins the Dalits of today?

                  Francois Gautier
                  May 23, 2006

                  At a time when the Congress government wants to raise the quota for Other Backward Classes to 49.5 per cent in private and public sectors, nobody talks about the plight of the upper castes. The public image of the Brahmins, for instance, is that of an affluent, pampered class. But is it so today?

                  There are 50 Sulabh Shauchalayas (public toilets) in Delhi; all of them are cleaned and looked after by Brahmins (this very welcome public institution was started by a Brahmin). A far cry from the elitist image that Brahmins have!

                  There are five to six Brahmins manning each Shauchalaya. They came to Delhi eight to ten years back looking for a source of income, as they were a minority in most of their villages, where Dalits are in majority (60 per cent to 65 per cent). In most villages in UP and Bihar, Dalits have a union which helps them secure jobs in villages.
                  According to the Andhra Pradesh study, the largest percentage of Brahmins today are employed as domestic servants. The unemployment rate among them is as high as 75 per cent. Seventy percent of Brahmins are still relying on their hereditary vocation. There are hundreds of families that are surviving on just Rs 500 per month as priests in various temples (Department of Endowments statistics).

                  Priests are under tremendous difficulty today, sometimes even forced to beg for alms for survival. There are innumerable instances in which Brahmin priests who spent a lifetime studying Vedas are being ridiculed and disrespected.

                  At Tamil Nadu's Ranganathaswamy Temple, a priest's monthly salary is Rs 300 (Census Department studies) and a daily allowance of one measure of rice. The government staff at the same temple receive Rs 2,500 plus per month. But these facts have not modified the priests' reputation as 'haves' and as 'exploiters.' The destitution of Hindu priests has moved none, not even the parties known for Hindu sympathy.

                  The Indian government gives Rs 1,000 crores (Rs 10 billion) for salaries of imams in mosques and Rs 200 crores (Rs 2 billion) as Haj subsidies. But no such help is available to Brahmins and upper castes. As a result, not only the Brahmins, but also some of the other upper castes in the lower middle class are suffering in silence today, seeing the minorities slowly taking control of their majority.

                  Anti-Brahminism originated in, and still prospers in anti-Hindu circles. It is particularly welcome among Marxists, missionaries, Muslims, separatists and Christian-backed Dalit movements of different hues. When they attack Brahmins, their target is unmistakably Hinduism.

                  So the question has to be asked: are the Brahmins (and other upper castes) of yesterday becoming the Dalits of today?

                  These facts are also important to note:
                  1. It's mostly Brahmin mathematicians who invented the number system and most of the other Indian Mathematical inventions which you can read about from the link in my sigline.
                  2. The authors of Hinduism's greatest epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were written by "lower" caste Hindus (i.e. not Brahmins), namely Vyasa and Valmiki, both of whom became accepted as sages, and their works adopted as as definitional epics of Hinduism. What that shows is the caste system was not a rigid one and that it permitted upward mobility within the contexts that were present in those ancient times.

                  I am not a Brahmin (as follows from my earlier remark that I was a "lower" caste Hindu), but I have come to firmly view the rampant anti-Brahminisim as being exactly like anti-Semitism. Both are hateful and inhuman vilifications of very successful groups of people (who made many valuable contributions to the human society in the forms of science, culture, arts, languages, etc) for positively no justifiable reason.

                  Did you know that Indians invented the # 0 and the decimal/binary systems: a primer on Indian mathematics.

                  by iceweasel on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:18:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I no more believe... (5+ / 0-)

                    ....that a majority of Hindus would want to enforce a strict caste system than I believe that a majority of Mormons would like to engage in polygamy.  The point wasn't that these views are uniformly or widely held among members of a particular faith, but that these views are not tolerated by many people despite their ostensible belief in religious freedom.

                    Your reply to me is excellent and highly detailed.  But such was not intended to be my implication, nor did I make that comment out of any negative sentiments towards Brahmin.  The point was merely that tolerance of religious practices only goes so far, even among those most committed to religious freedom.  I apologize if my comment displayed any further sentiments beyond that.

                    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                    by Jay Elias on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 12:26:55 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Sir you know nothing of Switzerland (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Comparing the Swiss, who are in some form an ethnic group"

          Well no they are not. Switzerland has four separate official languages each representing a particular ethnic group: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Obviously there has been some admixture over time but really there is no major European country that is actually made up by one ethnic group.

          Over the last five hundred years or so Switzerland has learned to get along by recognizing and respecting cultural boundaries in a democratic society. Insisting on special rights for a particular ethnic or religious minority is not what the country has ever been about.

          And not that it is important but Saudi Arabia is not an absolute dictatorship either, their are significant power centers outside the royal family, but apparently your history books are written in crayon.

          •  Ugh (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            capelza, unspeakable, Anak, soysauce, Kandy

            I'm not about to debate ethnography with you, but you aren't telling me anything new.  Despite language differences, there has been a uniquely Swiss culture and people which is not German nor French nor Italian.  Meanwhile, I'm not saying that the Swiss are about pluralism, nor am I saying the Swiss should be about pluralism.

            Meanwhile, you seem to know little of absolute dictatorships as well.  There are always significant power centers outside of the monarch or despot - even in Nazi Germany the Fuhrer was not the sole center of power.  Holding absolute political authority does not grant one a monopoly on all power.  

            You have an impressive UID, and although I've been here a long time and know nothing of you, I have no wish to fight with you.  But you're being a douche to me, and I'm not going to put up with that either.

            The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

            by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:58:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah maybe you shouldn't use words like (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego, valion

              "ethnic' quite so loosely next time. And I would like to see some evidence that there is really some inherently 'Swiss' culture apart from its national components. Certainly there is a shared understanding of the importance of democracy but even there there have been some cantonal variation.

              Many, perhaps most major European nations made determined attempts to create national identities in the 18th and 19th century mostly without success, Bavaria doesn't see itself as identical to Prussia, or Brittany to France, or Catalonia to Spain, or Sicily to Italy, or for that matter Scotland to England, variations in culture, language, and yes ethnicity persist to this day. And historically Pan-Hellenism and Pan-Slavism were not exactly total successes, you can ask the people of Yugo (lit South) Slavia how that worked out. Or the Soviet Union.

              And Jay you have not exactly been a model of civility here yourself. Perhaps you should take your own advice, say "Ugh" and "I'm bored" and get some sleep.
              I have not spent a huge amount of time at dKos in recent years having followed the famous advice of Yogi Berra: "Nobody goes there any more, it is too crowded". But really the only reason I have a three digit number is because I slept in the Sunday they introduced Scoop registration, if I had gotten up when I usually did I would be tucked in at most just a couple of dozen slots behind Meteor Blades.

              •  Perhaps I shouldn't (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                capelza, unspeakable, Mariken

                That said, the Swiss federation dates back to the late 13th century.  While Switzerland is certainly an amalgam of German, French and Italian cultures as well as Rhaeto-Romanic culture, the interaction of these cultures has led to a shared cultural identity where the varying aspects have interplay and overflow.  A good comparison could be the various regional cultures of the US; while there are deeply distinct cultures of, for example, New England and the American south, there is shared cultural awareness.  Neither are identical, of course, no more than Bavaria and Prussia are.  But Bavarians and Prussians both consider themselves German.

                To be sure, I am not the model of civility.  It is a failure on my part, and I do apologize to you.  And to all.  That said, all my initial statement attempted to demonstrate is that the Swiss and Muslims are not equivalent groups, a point that I consider self-evident.  Cheers.

                The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                by Jay Elias on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:36:20 PM PST

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            •  Ethnography? (0+ / 0-)

              I just had a discussion with my sister the other night about this word. I do not think it means what you think it means, unless I'm misreading you.

              Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82

              Your argument is not Scottish.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 01:38:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The Swiss Muslims are a very small minority (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, Pluto, pico, amk for obama, Anak, Gatordiet

        and are mostly there as refugees from various parts of the former Yugoslavia. I refuse to view them as a threat to Swiss society, for that reason.

        As for Saudi Arabian religious intolerance, I dislike it enough that I don't want to imitate it.

        Revelation speaks of "those who claim to be Jews and are not, but are liars." I've always wondered how many American "Jews" are of this group. -- A RW blogger.

        by Kimball Cross on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:28:14 PM PST

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    •  Probably not (1+ / 0-)
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      it is very difficult to become a naturalized Swiss citizen. (I was told by one naturalized Swiss Jew that large amounts of money can help speed the process along.)

      All my IP addresses have been banned from

      by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 07:03:59 AM PST

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