The Swiss minaret debate goes on

The new year continues as the old one ended: with discussing the Swiss minaret ban and its consequences. A prominent TV talk show hosted Justice minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, Hisham Maizar, president of the Federation of Islamic Umbrella Organisations and Thomas Wipf of the Swiss Protestant Communion.

Starting off with a positive statement, Widmer-Schlumpf stated that at least “We finally discuss”. Maizar demanded a public and legal acknowledgment of Islam, while Wipf claimed it was still to early for that and that Muslims should be sensitive for being a minority among a majority – that includes not demanding the construction of minarets yet. He furthermore regretted the fact that there were so many different currents within Islam and that Swiss Muslims did not speak with one voice. This point was supported by Maizar, calling for a greater union within the Swiss Muslim community, which should be supported by the state. Widmer-Schlumpf, however, rejected this request as not being the task of the state.

Switzerland: Religions’ council aims to defend Swiss values

The president of the Swiss Council of Religions, which was set up last year, says interreligous dialogue is more necessary now than ever. Thomas Wipf gave an interview to swissinfo in the context of a new dossier on the changing face of religion in Switzerland, which was launched on Monday. But Wipf says the principles of human dignity, religious freedom and the separation of church and state must not be compromised by the growth of some faiths. Wipf, who is also president of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, believes the council can help preserve religious peace in Switzerland in an evolving religious landscape.