It takes a nation to protect the nation
Saudi preaches Switzerland lessons in tolerance Place of no other religion than Islam denounces Switzerland’s ban on construction of new mosque minarets.http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=36179
By Habib TRABELSI - PARIS
The overwhelming rejection of the construction of new mosque minarets in Switzerland has prompted a wave of protests in Saudi Arabia, a country where non-Muslim public worship is strictly prohibited.
Several voices were raised to give lessons in religious tolerance, calling for economic boycott of Switzerland and urging Muslims to withdraw their deposits from Swiss banks.
The Islamic Jurisprudence protests the ban
The Jeddah-based Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA), an offshoot of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), said the Swiss ban of the construction new minarets was "an infringement of Muslim Swiss citizens’ fundamental and religious rights.”
The vote, brought by members of the hard right Swiss People's Party (SVP) - Switzerland's biggest political grouping and other right wing parties, "sows hatred against Muslim citizens and prevent them from integrate positively in the Swiss society," IFA said in a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
IFA demanded that the Swiss government take practical measures to stop these malpractices and prevent any enforcement of the vote.
Commercial and financial boycott
The IFA Secretary General, Dr. Dawood Abdul Salam Al-Abbadi, called on Muslims to boycott trade and financial institutions in Switzerland.
"This referendum is directed against Muslims who represent a quarter of the world’s population and hold the bulk of the funds placed in Swiss banks under the pretext that the country enjoys security, freedom and democracy," Abbadi told the Saudi daily Okaz.
"There are calls for the severance of political ties between Muslim countries and Switzerland as the Swiss voted (by a majority of 57.5%) for banning the construction of new minarets, thus denying their fellow Muslims their religious rights,” he added.
Abbadi also asked Muslims to silence the voices that call for more hatred in Europe, seek to sow sedition by claiming the prohibition of 'niqab', Muslim cemeteries and the construction of mosques, ridicule the rituals and principles of Islam, and are leading a furious campaign of they call ‘Islamophobia’.
The National Human Rights Association denounces the vote
The Saudi National Human Rights Association (NHRA) expressed its regret and deep concern about the referendum that “constitutes an infringement of freedom religion and a violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which grants every person the freedom of worship and the right to practice their religious rites.
"Such referendum is likely to inflame the conflict between religions and widen the gap born of the hostility of some Western politicians to Islam,” said NHRA in a statement.
NHRA called on all human rights organizations in the world "to reject such practices that incite hatred and non-compliance of the cultural and religious diversity."
Several Saudi clerics vehemently condemned the anti-minaret referendum, whose shocking billboard was featuring a woman in 'burqa’ against a Swiss flag invaded by minarets, whose shapes evoke missiles, has caused a scandal, including in Switzerland.
The Secretary General of the World Muslim League and member of the Council of Senior Ulema (the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia), Dr. Abdullah bin AbdulMohsen Al-Turki, warned against the danger of extremist and racist parties on dialogue between Muslims and followers of other religions.
Other clerics, cited by two UAE newspapers "Al-Bayan" and "Gulf News", called for an economic boycott of Switzerland and Muslims’ withdrawal of deposits from its banks.
Among them, the preacher Khaled Shamrani, who stressed the necessity to launch a major campaign for a boycott of Swiss products and refrain from travel in this country, which is especially valued by the wealthy families of the Gulf.
Another preacher, Ahmed Al-Hassan,urged wealthy Muslims to withdraw their assets from Swiss banks.
According to banking sources, quoted by the newspaper, Arab investments in Swiss banks are over a staggering 400 billion dollars, more than 10% of the amount of all bank deposits, estimated at some 3,700 billion dollars.
Criticism "on the quiet"
Aware of the limits of their country that prohibits any place of worship other than Islam and bans any other practice of religion other than Islam, Saudi columnists have muted their criticism and did not preach lessons to Switzerland.
However, some journalists hoped that Switzerland would reconsider its decision.
But readers’ comments were not devoid of veiled criticisms against the lack of religious pluralism in the kingdom.
"We prohibit the construction of places of worship for non-Muslims, whereas in Switzerland they only prohibit the construction of minarets," said Abu Khaled. "Everyone is free in their own country," claimed Badr.
Writer Badria Al-Bishr dared denounce the "culture responsible for racism and extremism," without specifically referring to Saudi Arabia.
"The secular constitutions in the West allow the construction of mosques, the opening of centers for preaching, printing of Korans and publishing Islamic documents, whereas our Arab countries deny that right to others, to varying degrees," wrote Bishr in Al-Hayat daily.
"King Abdullah’s call for promoting dialogue among religions has not yet received the desired echo in our consciousness and even less in our media, education or mosques," she said.
"Instead, we reject some of our speeches to recognize our local confessional differences," she lamented, in an allusion to religious discrimination against the Shiite minority in the conservative kingdom.
However, the authorities categorically reject such accusations.
Not a single bell will ring in Saudi Arabia!
Last May, Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani, the first black imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, told the BBC Arabic Television that "religious freedom has its limits."
"Will the Vatican allow the construction of mosques on its territory?” Asked Kalbani.
"In any case, the Kingdom is the Qibla of Muslims (to whom they turn for prayer). So, not a single church bell will ring in the Saudi territory,” he added