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Jakarta Post

Thanking the Swiss vote

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, December 2 2009   /  09:46 am

Frankly speaking, we expected more from the Swiss in their vote whether to endorse a government ban on minarets. Known as the most peaceful nation in the world, never engaged in war, one naturally presumes tolerance is part of the Swiss national character. Its vote supporting the ban shows we probably expected too much from them.Rather than lamenting the outcome of a democratic process, we in Indonesia and in the Islam world must see the Swiss vote as a challenge to surmount. If a nation as peaceful as Switzerland sees the minaret as a symbol of Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism, how do other nations who are less tolerant see this symbol of Islam?As a democracy with the largest Muslim population worldwide, Indonesia must take the lead in the global campaign to change the perception in the West, formed largely by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US in 2001, which associated Islam wit...