Dec 3 2009
Most Europeans who oppose minarets, oppose mosques as well. It seems that it’s not the minarets that people are really objecting to, but the mosques themselves.
But what this article stops short of saying is that it isn’t the mosques that people oppose but the people who attend them. I mean, a symbol or a building is not a threat to anyone, it’s the people those structures represent who pose the greatest danger.
In FRANCE, on the Le Figaro internet site, 49,000 readers answered the question “should the construction of new minarets be banned in France?” with a majority of 73% favoring such a ban. It’s not only minarets that they’re upset about. Just 19% of the French accept that a mosque should be built if the Muslims request it. It’s the lowest ratio in the past twenty years. While the number of opponents has returned to the level of the 1980s. 41% oppose building mosques, 36% said they were indifferent and 4% have no opinion.
In GERMANY, Der Spiegel got 78% opposition in answer to a similar question. Though immigration is more accepted in France than in other European countries, Ifop says that according to recent surveys, Islam is worrying. It’s still perceived as a religion of conquest. “Its expansion and collective rites clash with the Catholic background of our society.” The minarets, even without a muezzin, seems to be a “too loud” symbol of the Muslim presence in France.
Now ITALY could become the next European country to hold a referendum on the building of Islamic minarets. Roberto Calderoli, of Italy’s Right-wing Northern League party, said the country should hold a vote as soon as possible to reaffirm its Roman Catholic roots. Like the Swiss, Italian voters can have a direct say on an issue if a minimum number of signatures are gathered, calling for a referendum. Mr Calderoli said the Swiss decision should warn countries about losing touch with their Christian identities. ‘Respect for other religions is important, but we’ve got to put the brakes on Muslim propaganda or else we’ll end up with an Islamic political party like in Spain,’ he said. The League – which has previously been accused of Islamophobia – is expected to start the campaign for a vote. UK DAILY MAIL
According to an Ifop poll, 41% of respondents oppose building places of Muslim worship, compared to 22% in 2001. If the Swiss weren’t preoccupied with minarets, France would probably have ignored it. But once the subject was brought up, opinions have gotten inflamed. About 46% of the French asked by Ifop favor their ban. Close to 40% accept them and 14% have no opinion. Jérôme Fourquet of Ifop says that the French are divided, but that there’s never been as much tensions around Islam as now.
Jerome Fourquet says that at the time, the Front National emerged as well as SOS-Racisme and the big protests. In 1989, 38% of the French didn’t want to see a mosque built next to them. In the following decades the rejection weakened. In 2001, even after the 9/11 attacks, the core of opposition remained at 22%, others having joined the camp of the indifferent (46%). But in 2009, with the return of tensions, public opinion radicalized on the place of Islam in France, and is strongly against its visibility. About 41% of the respondents now reject construction of mosques.
Ifop says that it’s as if the twenty years of the right to be different and positive secularism advocated by Nicolas Sarkozy have only been talk on the surface, without getting a toehold in the country. President Sarkozy even thought to alter the 1905 law to permit public financing of the Muslim religion, while mayors were asked to get involved to order to get Islam to leave squalid places of worship. However, this ‘normalization’ of Islam wished for by the government and the political elites turned against the tide of public opinion. The gap is particularly noticeable among the voters of Nicolas Sarkozy. 48% of them reject building mosques (13% support), and 55% are against minarets. 48% of Olivier Besancenot voters object to minarets.
Besides the liberal professions, the younger people and more elderly, everybody shows reluctance. The workers are most mobilized. 65% disagree with building mosques, followed by middle managements, craftsmen and merchants. Whether they live in the cities or in the countryside, the French are concerned. And particularly in the North-Est and the South-East. Ile-de-France is less tense. ISLAM IN EUROPE
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