Fords Protest Swiss Minaret Ban

January 13, 2010

Author: Robin Riskin

Source: The Bi-College News

A wooden minaret capped in a green cloth stood outside of Founders starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

Edin Fako ‘11 erected it to protest Switzerland’s recent ban on the construction of minarets—tower-like structures featured in Islamic architecture from which the call to prayer is made.

Fako broadcast the call to prayer—or adhaan—from the minaret five times over the course of the day. Switzerland had previously banned broadcast of the call to prayer.

Fako said that there are only four minarets in all of Switzerland, yet the right-wing party, which is in the majority, “basically had this campaign where they saw minarets as a threat to their culture, to their society.” Nearly six-in-ten Swiss voters backed a Nov. 29 referendum that bans the construction of any further minarets.

He sees Haverford, with its Quaker values, as a great place to take a stance for religious tolerance.

“To me, it doesn’t really matter that this is happening in Switzerland,” he said. “It’s still a really strong injustice against anyone that wants freedom of religion.”