The “Muslim Kristallnacht” and a Swiss Twittergate

One of the more colorful Muslim figures in Switzerland making the media rounds the past few months is Aziz Osmanoglu of Basel, who was recently on trial for hate speech charges.  The court case was based on Osmanoglu’s statements made to a Swiss TV show, which essentially added up to saying that it was “Sharia-compliant” to beat a recalcitrant wife if she refused to have sex. Specifically, he said, “A man needs sex. That is why he can, as a last resort, beat his wife if she refuses. If not, the man cheats and this is not wanted in Islam.” Strangely enough for Switzerland, the appeals court acquitted him, ruling that he was speaking personally; in other words, that he was acting in freedom of speech and not as a representative of the Muslim community.

While the court of appeals’ ruling is problematic enough, this story isn’t finished. Yesterday, in response to the court judgment, a tweet was posted, allegedly from SVP politician Alexander Muller (yes, from the same party that brought you the minaret vote), saying that “Maybe we need another Kristallnacht…this time for mosques.”  Kristallnacht, of course, refers to the coordinated night of attacks against Jews carried out in 1938 in Germany and parts of Austria. Stay classy, dude.  The press backlash was swift, with the 20 Minuten, and even the generally conservative Tages-Anzeiger, writing articles on the subject. [Read more...]