The Swiss Minaret Referendum, December 2009

Jonathan was interviewed for an article about the anti-Minaret referendum in Switzerland in The Economist:

[...] But the right-wing Swiss People’s Party struck a chord by telling voters that there was still a binary choice: either they would be subjected to misogynism and cruel punishments in the name of Islam, or else their existing culture, based on liberal Christianity, would prevail. Minarets were shown as a menacing force: on posters, dark shapes (resembling both minarets and missiles) rose from a Swiss flag.

The resonance of such tactics may embarrass French and German politicians, both on the centre-left and the centre-right, who have predicted that Muslims will soon be integrated as their fellow citizens get used to them, and as their ties with homelands like Turkey and Morocco weaken. In the view of Jonathan Laurence, a professor at Boston College, the vote may be seen as a setback for strategies based on bringing Islam into the European mainstream by encouraging Muslims to “emerge from the basement” and build more visible places of worship. [...]

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

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