Muslims have been relegated to ghetto status by the good burghers of Switzerland, to whom their human rights were put to a vote, as the progress of neo-fascism in Europe continues.
But aren't the Muslims--as Mark Steyn and others of his political bent like to warn us--taking over? Moving next door? Carrying off your daughters and murdering their own? Outbreeding whites?
Here's the reality in Switzerland:
The 'yes' vote, if confirmed, shows the strength of feeling against a Muslim population which has grown over the past 20 years to 350,000 or four per cent of the population. The majority are not regular practitioners of their faith.* Most are from Turkey and the Balkans.
Only four modest-sized minarets exist in Switzerland, where there are 150 prayer houses. None are used to call the faithful to prayer. [emphases added]
Switzerland, like (for example) Austria, Italy and Hungary, has a less than glorious history when it comes to this sort of thing. Neutral during World War II, it turned tens of thousands of Jewish refugees away from its borders to their certain deaths (although, in fairness, the records of Canada and the US are no better). After the war, Swiss banks fiercely held onto funds placed there for safekeeping by Jewish families.
Bank officials even demanded death certificates before they were prepared to release that money to Holocaust survivors and their descendants. (Meticulous as the Nazis were, they did not provide individual death certificates for Holocaust victims.) Only considerable international pressure made the Swiss cough up at last.
We have an overly sweet view of Europe these days, I believe. It's all old civilization, dropped borders, and a brake, however mild, upon the US. But there is an ugly underside, as any Roma can tell you, and it is bursting forth from national soils in new and malignant blooms.
We've seen this movie before. European Muslims are a convenient Other to scapegoat for everything from the pain of the recession, with its attendant social service cutbacks and unemployment, to those threatening minarets. Switzerland is just the latest domino poised to fall.
*Very odd. This sentence no longer appears at the Times site. But it was there.