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  • 18

    OSCE Expert Concerned by Swiss Islamophobia
    Immigration; Posted on: 2007-11-16 16:17:18 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Swiss Move to Ban Minarets

    The Swiss Muslim community is better integrated than those in other European countries, but suffers from an "acute perception problem", says an Islamophobia expert.

    Turkish diplomat Ömür Orhun, the representative of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe fighting intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, was speaking at the end of a three-day visit to Switzerland.

    Under his OSCE mandate, Orhun was invited by the Swiss authorities to gain a better understanding of the situation and expectations of Muslims living in Switzerland.

    Addressing a news conference in Bern on Wednesday, Orhun said the Swiss Muslim community was relatively better off as far as education and financial status were concerned, but there was a major issue regarding perception.

    "The mainstream Swiss population has a growing apprehension of Muslims in the country which leads to a sense of fear in the Muslim community of not being welcome, alienated and rejected," he explained.

    "The perception problem of mutual fear and anxiety between the non-Muslim and Muslim communities could be easily corrected by small gestures provided there is goodwill on both sides. Otherwise this fault line could further increase in the future," he told swissinfo.

    ...Orhun also criticised political initiatives such as the rightwing Swiss People's Party campaigns to force nationwide votes on banning the construction of minarets and on expelling criminal foreigners, which he said were "creating a very bad atmosphere".

    In June 2007 the Turkish diplomat said he was "astonished" that such developments were taking place in a country like Switzerland, which had been "an advocate of protection of human rights elsewhere in the world".

    Orhun said his attitude hadn't changed since his visit, but he was glad that the people he spoke to held similar positions to him.


    In attacking the Swiss, Turkish "Islamophobia expert" Orhun is making a transparent attempt to appeal to outworn white guilt, briefly revived in elite circles with the recent magnificent electoral performance of the Swiss People's Party, now the leading political party in Switzerland. Orhun's concern is to deflect outrage about his nation's abuse of the Kurds, and brazen refusal to acknowledge the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people. Orhun's attack is pathetic: the officially secular Turkish state is much more repressive towards its own population's Islamic expression than any European land is to resident Muslims. Europe has heard more than enough from Turks about anything, least of all religion. The Turks repeatedly invaded European nations, and subdued some of them for hundreds of years. An old family with Swiss roots, the Hapsburgs, who as Holy Roman Emperors often rolled back Turkish "multiculturalism" at swordpoint, should be able to enlighten "Islamophobia expert" Orhun -- and any Swiss crazy enough to listen to him.
    News Source: swissinfo


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