First of all: I’m against a ban on minaret building – I think, it is stupid.
BUT: With the vote of the Swiss people, democracy shows, why it is the best model of governing. The public debate on immigration, integration, islamisation (3i’s) is fare too simplistic. There are the good guys, who see no problems at all. And there are the bad guys, who see problems alone.
The REAL problem is, that there is no proper discussion about the the 3i’s.
- What is Europe’s strategy towards immigration?
- We know, that we need immigration to address several issues, the most impacting of them: demographic change. And we know, that we can not stop immigration – whatever means we use. At least not unless Europe is not attractive any more – something nobody wants.
- What is our concept concerning integration?
The difference between Europe and US? In US it’s easy for an immigrant to get a job, but very difficult to get social security. In Europe it’s very difficult to get a job, but it’s easy to get social security. That corrupts – even the most intelligent and hard working immigrants.
- How do we cope with Islam in a Christian-based society?
With all probability, we will face an Islamic majority in most of Europe’s countries within the next hundred years. If we don’t show millions of Islamic inhabitants a role model, how to live and work together in a Christian way, our children will face problems, Christians have in some Islamic countries.
The Swiss people are not racists. They used the only publicly relevant and available valve to force a honest discussion between good guys and bad guys. They force the political establishment to deal with the real problems of ordinary people. Even Islamic public people and organisations accept, that they too have some responsibility for this result. In every other country in Europe, there would be at least the same results, if people were asked anonymously. Not to ask is not the solution. To neglect neither. We have to find solutions before things escalate. The Swiss people know, that votes can be redone – and they will allow Minarets, once we have found a way to solve the ground-lying problems.
What has to be done?
- Immigration: Having a clear understanding, what kind of immigration we want and promote. Whom should we invite to live and work in Europe – and whom should we help in the places where they are living. Whom do we invite to become citizen of our countries and whom do we reject the right to live here.
- Integration: Having clear rules of integration. What is expected of immigrants (language, schooling, legality, etc.) and what immigrants can expect from us (rights, tolerance, chances, etc.). Working together with Christian and Islamic inhabitants and organisations on these topics.
- Islamisation: The discussions about minarets and headscarves are discussions about symptoms and not about the real problems. They are symbols of whatever we associate with Islam. We have to discover the great culture, past and future of Islam. And we have to see the dark sides of some communities and work forcefully against them – together with the majority of Muslims. (The Red Army Faction in Germany was only a handful of people but was able to terrorise a whole country.)
This vote will be the beginning of a fruitful discussion, a constructive working together to solve real problems of real people on both sides – and in the end, having a better place to live and work. Switzerland has a history of votes concerning religions since 1893 – and at the end, they always got it right.
(I’m a Christian immigrant in Switzerland.)