How the Swiss Handle Their Muslim Community

Posted on July 3, 2017



Nationalism is on the rise in the Western world and it is pushing globalism down as a priority among nations in Europe, and, most definitely, in the new Trump administration in Washington, D.C.

The signposts are not subtle or difficult to discern. They are more like strikes of lightning in a nighttime sky. Trump’s nationalism is best summarized in his promise to “make America great again.” Great Britain’s turn to nationalism is Brexit, the decision to put Great Britain’s concerns first rather than allowing the European Union to dictate what Great Britain should be about.

In France, a new nationalist star is rising to perhaps become next president, Marine La Pen, and she defends French culture, in the face of an increasing Muslim population in France, with a passion. France in fact has the largest Muslim population in Europe, and so perhaps the most to lose from an expanding, and aggressive, Islamic culture.

How do Europeans go about recapturing their culture from this very vibrant, demanding Muslim immigrant population?

Switzerland has experienced a doubling of its Muslim population in the last generation and it faces much of the same issues as the English, French, Germans and others.

In a series of articles in the Washington Post, New York Times, and The Atlantic magazine for example, a recent controversy was described that is worth considering.

It has long been customary for students to shake the hands of their teachers at the beginning and end of the school day. It’s a sign of mutual respect between teacher and pupil.

Recently two Muslim brothers, aged 14 and 15, who have lived in Switzerland for several years near Basel, refused to shake the hands of their teacher, a woman, because, they claimed, this would violate Muslim teachings that contact with the opposite sex is allowed only with family members.

At first the school authorities caved and granted the boys an exemption. But an uproar followed.

Mayor Reto Wolf explained to the BBC: “the community was unhappy with the decision taken by the school. In our culture and in our way of communication a handshake is normal and sends out respect for the other person, and this has to be brought home to the children in school.”

Then the decision was reversed. If the students refused to shake hands again they could be fined of up to 5,000 dollars.

The Swiss understood quite clearly that this was more than a little quarrel over handshakes; it was a fight over whether the Swiss would be masters in their own house, or whether they would be forced to yield, by the granting of special treatment, to the Islamic view of the proper relations between the sexes. It is one battle between strident Muslim fundamentalist immigrants and their hosts, the Swiss.

The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland criticized the ruling in hysterical terms, claiming that the enforcement of the handshaking is “totalitarian” because its intent is to “forbid religious people from meeting their obligations to God.”

The Swiss shot back that this was never the “intent” of the long-standing handshaking custom. It s meant to encourage the right classroom atmosphere of mutual respect between instructor and pupil, of which the handshake was one aspect.

As one pro-Swiss journalist wrote, “each little victory, or defeat, will determine whether Muslims will truly integrate into a Western society or, instead, refashion that society to meet Muslim requirements.” Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but the rise of European nationalism is a real response to the expanding presence of radical Islam in Europe. The challenges keep coming throughout Europe and now even in the U. S.

One writer expressed his interpretation with clarity: “the Muslim is not attempting to integrate, but rather to create, for now, a second, parallel society, and eventually, through sheer force of numbers from both migration and by out breeding the Infidels, to fashion not a parallel society but one society – now dominated by Muslim sharia.”

There’s an old Scottish saying that reads: “Many a little makes a mickle.” That is, the accumulation of many little things leads to one big thing. That’s what’s happening in Europe today.

The Swiss and the French, our oldest allies who jumped into the American Revolution with enthusiasm and helped us finally defeat the British at the Battle of Yorktown, need our sympathy and help if we think liberty, equality and fraternity—the clarion call of the French Revolution—are as important to them as “all men are created equal” is to us.

Published in The Tuscaloosa News Sunday March 13, 2017 as Nationalism a Response to Spread of Radical Islam

Posted in: Nationalism