Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, continues to mull over the recent Swiss referendum that bans minarets — the architecturally distinguished spires next to mosques — within the quaint historical towns of the region.
“I see the referendum as consequential, and well so beyond Swiss borders,” Mr. Pipes says. “It raises delicate issues of reciprocity in Muslim-Christian relations. A few examples: When Our Lady of the Rosary, Qatar’s first-ever church, opened in 2008, it did so minus cross, bell, dome, steeple, or signboard.”
Father Tom Veneracion explained that his church intended “to be discreet because we don’t want to inflame any sensitivities.”
Mr. Pipes also cited Christians in the Egyptian town of Nazlet al-Badraman, who won permission in October to restore the Mar-Girgis Church and were later attacked by local Muslims.
“The situation for Copts is so bad, they have reverted to building secret churches,” he says of the Christians in Egypt. “Why, the Catholic Church and others are asking, should Christian suffer such indignities while Muslims enjoy full rights in historically Christian countries? The Swiss vote fits into this new spirit.”
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