Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers."

"Mosques are our barracks, domes our helmets, minarets our bayonets, believers our soldiers."

This is a line from a poem by Turkish writer, Ziya Gökalp. Ironically, he was a staunch Kemalist. However, the sense of this thought has prompted some interesting political protest posters in Switzerland which is going to have a referendum on November 29 that may stop the construction of minarets.

The picture above shows a minaret displacing the historic water tower in Lucerne.

Some maintain that the minarets are an unnecessary architectural feature since the faithful are not called to prayer as they used to be from the top of these towers. Others claim the minaret is a structure deliberately intended to remind the population of a community of the supremacy of Islam.

This last one has now been ruled "racist" by the municipality of Basel, presumably because it also contains the image of a burqa-clad person.

A spokesman for the construction and traffic department of the half-canton of Basel City said the decision to ban it in publicly-owned spaces was based on a law against spreading racist ideologies or classing groups by ethnic, religious, cultural or physical characteristics.

Apparently, it is alright for a Muslim woman to classify herself as a member of religious or cultural group and wander around the streets of Basel dressed in this obscene costume and that is not a racist act, but if you put a likeness of her on a poster that is racist.

Thanks to the Gates of Vienna for the story.

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