|A statement on the Swiss referendum on banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland|
Fadlullah: The ongoing incitement against Muslims in the West is of negative repercussions on non-Muslims
His Eminence also warned Muslims from resorting to violence as a reaction to such actions, calling on them to act positively with their Swiss fellow citizens, including those who voted for banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland.
His Eminence issued a statement on the Swiss referendum to ban Muslims from building minarets in Switzerland. Following is the text of the statement:
The results of a referendum conducted in Switzerland on banning Muslims, who represent the second largest religious community after Christianity, from building minarets came out recently. The percentage of votes in favor of the ban reached 59%.
At a time we express our respect to the Swiss public opinion in terms of our respect to the freedom of expression on any relevant affair, we would like to point out before the Swiss people and the international public opinion, as well as Muslims, to few points in a calm, objective, and rational dialogue:
First: Perhaps it is clear that the propaganda campaign that aimed at inciting the Swiss public opinion has mixed between several issues, for it is obvious that it is trying to portray Islam and Muslims in a distorted and scary image, since the Muslim woman was pictured as one who refuses to deal with the society, and the minarets were represented as rockets deployed throughout the Swiss territories. Nevertheless, the Swiss people are aware of the reality of Muslims with whom they experience their daily life in the streets and different institutions, schools, universities, and divisions, as well as other social utilities. Moreover, the Swiss people see with their own eyes that Muslims do not have a unified pattern of expressing their religion, as much as the westerners do not enjoy the same ideas and patterns, for there is the extremist rightist, the moderate, the rational, and the fanatic, and other orientations that are found in every nation or people. Therefore, it seems illogical to subdue the people over there to the influence of a propaganda that reflects a stereotyped image that actually does not conform to reality in such a comprehensive manner.
Second: We call on the westerners to carry out on the ground sociological studies to get to know the Muslims further in their customs and traditions, so as to realize that the majority of Muslims deal with their citizenship in a civilized and humanitarian manner and participate in building their homeland along with their fellow citizens. Moreover, this majority is concerned with enhancing internal peace in compliance with the teachings of Islam that lay emphasis on openness, communication, and mercy, for we could feel that there is an organized action since the notorious 9/11 attacks to create a gap – that is to a large extent fabricated– between Muslims and their fellow citizens in the western countries. Therefore, we should pay high attention to this point, for Muslims have become an integral part of the countries they are living in.
Third: The ongoing incitement which aims at creating a racist atmosphere in the West against Muslim citizens would have negative repercussions on non-Muslims as well, because such an atmosphere would transform the state of peace within the community into psychological tensions, through which a group of people might feel marginalized and oppressed, in the face of another group that might feel dominant and arrogant; which would eventually lead to the division of society. We are all aware that the state of division in any society is a main element that threatens social accord; the fundamental basis required for administering progress, development, and prosperity.
At the same level, we cannot but express our concern from employing the results of this referendum to issue other resolutions that will definitely lead to agitating the atmosphere and exacerbating the societal reactions, especially that they came after a series of violent racist surges that took place in several European countries, just as what took place in Germany where a man killed a Muslim woman in court, and in Britain where a Muslim Qatari citizen was murdered out of pure racist motives. Unfortunately, this will further increase western hatred to Islam and Muslims, and it would spread to other European countries, which could undermine the course of the human relations that we always call for amongst peoples, and raise questions on the way westerners handle the issue of freedom of belief and worship of Muslims in the European and western countries in general.
Fourth: Actually, the minaret in itself does not constitute one of the main constants of our religious constants. Allah, the Most Exalted, has rendered the entire earth a place for man to pray on, for Allah could not be bound to a certain place. Moreover, the heart of the believer can communicate with his Lord regardless of the geography and the buildings; however, the real reasons behind this negative propaganda campaign have nothing to do with the minaret itself, but rather they are a part of a distorting intimidating campaign that would eventually result in other regulations that further stifle Muslims in their countries. Therefore, the reaction of Muslims ought to be calm and objective and they ought to manage their affairs with the individuals and the active parties on the one hand, and abide by the rules of the country, on the other hand. Perhaps, by doing so the general stand might be altered and in this way it would become immune against any radical decisions which would cement the principle of freedom of exercising religious rites and put a limit to any possible future deviation at the level of the public opinion towards further negativity regarding critical Islamic issues.
Fifth: All Muslims ought to beware from being drifted towards violent reactions or from considering themselves intruders in the countries they hold their nationalities. Moreover, they ought to exert every effort to establish their active presence at all social levels, and to act positively with their Swiss fellow citizens, including those who voted for the ban, for a negative stand today might turn into a positive one some other day; when Muslims assert their civilized image instead of the negative image that is meant to be imposed on the Swiss people by publicity and media. All Muslims ought to realize that the administrations, namely the extremist ones, are not able to threaten the existence of Muslims except by how much they succeed in driving Muslims towards uncivilized actions; which would prove the propaganda conducted in the countries that embrace them to be true.
Finally: We advise the western administrations not to resort to what the west used to criticize the east for; which is confronting any state of wariness or fear from Muslims by means of arbitrary regulations that have nothing to do with the values of freedom and justice. Actually, the value of the western civilization, and all civilizations, lies in how much they abide by these principles; and the beginning of their fall starts when they take on the ground actions against their declared principles and values.