Last year, at a European meeting of intelligence officials from the US and Europe, a Swiss participant commented on a proposed referendum on minarets. He was sure it would go nowhere since, as he said, Switzerland is a very pluralistic society; its Muslim population is relatively small and there are few mosques with minarets.
Enlightened Switzerland has now become part of an “Enlightened Liberal Europe” that is increasingly not all that liberal. The stunning Swiss vote – 57 percent – approving a referendum to ban minarets, should not have been all that surprising, considering the growing power of Islamophobia.
In both Europe and the US, right-wing politicians, political commentators, media personalities, and religious leaders continue to feed a growing suspicion of mainstream Muslims by fuelling a fear that Islam, and not just Muslim extremism, is a threat. (…)