The article below, from the Swiss periodical Winkelried, was published before last month’s referendum on the banning of minarets. It provides some useful background information on issues which may have helped the Swiss voters to make their decision.
Many thanks to our Flemish correspondent VH for translating it:
List of gifts wanted by Muslims
The minarets are among the main desires of our “culture enrichers”. That would be the key to the integration of these oh-so-peaceful and industrious immigrants from the area of the rule of Allah. That is what we almost daily read in the media.
But then there are still a few little things that still have be resolved as well, so that the Muslims will not feel themselves racially discriminated against. A remarkable study on “The position of the Muslim population in the canton of Zurich” [see the notes for a link to the pdf] presents a litany of demands. This contains about 200 pages and deals with key areas of the life of Muslims in Switzerland: social benefits and the penal system. We would like very much to sum up all the demands here, but there are simply too many to mention them all. Therefore, we restricted ourselves to a few of the demands:
1. Burial in the country of origin
Of all Muslims — who are after all supposedly completely non-religious according to our media — 95% want to be buried in the country of origin. The cost amounts to approximately €27,000 per deceased. The transportation of the body alone would cost almost €7,000. These costs are not paid by social services; however, the travel costs of a limited number of people to attend the funeral is taken into account. The transport is paid by a cultural association. That cultural association is paid with tax money and thus cannot be counted among the social costs.
2. More prayer rooms
The demand for [building permits for] minarets is, according to the study, of secondary importance even to Muslims. They demand more prayer rooms, which in Islam are also meeting places, to maintain group coherence. The ever increasingly frequent protests around those prayer rooms (noise, random parking, crime) are regarded by Muslims as intolerance.
3. Their own hospital
Medical care by Christians is seen as inappropriate by Muslims. Muslims therefore demand a their own hospital as well as their own homes for the elderly [pensioned].
4. Muslims in public administration
There must be more Muslims appointed to public administration, especially with the police. Moreover, there also needs to be an ombudsman to whom they can turn to when they feel they are religiously disadvantaged, especially when they are hindered in the prescribed prayers during working hours. Scarf and chador may in no case be prohibited.
5. Workplaces without male contact
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Muslim women are forced onto social benefits, because there are not enough jobs where contact with men can be ruled out.
Here, Switzerland has a great need to great catch up with.
6. Muslim doctors/medical practitioners
Muslim doctors will make a lot possible for patients in health care. For example, the necessary medical circumcision of 3% of the boys/men is paid for by government health care. In Switzerland, however, 100% of the circumcisions of Muslims are medically essential.
7. Religious education of the children
Every Muslim already has the right to Quran lessons at the expense of the state. These are called “lessons in the native language and culture”. In the future, these classes must simply take place at school.
8. Religious holidays and advanced payments
Muslims should receive advanced payments for their religious holidays, so they can buy gifts.
9. Islamic social workers
Muslims want social workers in their own language and their own religion. In the current situation, they feel disfavored in their access to social services.
10. The imam as mediator
The Muslims demand that the imam acting as an important intermediary with the authorities receive political recognition. If there are problems with members of the Islamic community, the authorities should be obliged to involve him in their decisions.
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The Department for Integration Matters of the Kanton Zurich, in the has in the meantime taken the study — as linked to in the German article — offline. The study [“Studie zur Stellung der muslimischen Bevölkerung im Kanton Zürich”] can, however, still be downloaded from the online platform of Social Affairs here [1.1Mb]