Recent Good News Out of Switzerland

Girls in headscarves enter a school. Image via RTS.ch.

Courts in the Swiss canton of Thurgau have overturned on appeal the cantonal school district’s decision to forbid two Albanian girls from wearing the headscarf to school.  The story begins in 2011, when two 14-year-old girls were forbidden from wearing their headscarves to classes.  What ensued was a two-year legal battle that saw the school’s decision approved once by the courts, then now overturned. Surprising to me is that the ruling found that a blanket ban on headscarves was dispr … [Read more...]

The “Muslim Kristallnacht” and a Swiss Twittergate

Alexander Muller

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 m … [Read more...]

Yet Another Sensationalist Story about Muslim Girls and Swimming Lessons

Children swim at a pool in Switzerland. Image via Tages-Anzeiger.

Certain topics related to Muslims seem to go on and on like broken records in European countries. If it isn’t headscarves, it is swimming lessons (like these stories from Germany, Finland, and Norway).  This spring, a story about yet another Muslim family refusing swimming lessons made headlines in Switzerland.  In Basel, the families of five Muslim girls in elementary school were fined upon appeal to the Swiss Supreme Court for refusing that their daughters take part in mixed swimming lessons.  … [Read more...]

Swiss Miss: Temps Present’s Mixed Bag of Information

The Swiss political and media landscape is charged with loaded images of Muslim women.  The French side of Swiss media (namely, in newspapers like Le Temps) usually presents a balanced view of Muslim women, and television shows are of a decent quality, especially compared to television in the U.S.So I had no reason to be anything but excited for the December 16th episode of “Temps Present” on the TSR. But the show fell short, starting out with a reminder that we are a little over a year after t … [Read more...]

Switzerland’s Latest Referendum: No Uglies Allowed

On November 28th, the Swiss voted in one of their many referendums. The topic of this referendum was the deportation of criminal foreigners. This seems innocent enough, but the Swiss, at least for one local party, found a way to give it an anti-female anti-Islam twist.  Sadly, this initiative, spearheaded (as usual) by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP/UDC in French) passed at almost 53%, albeit with a low participation rate by Swiss standards.Known for its colorful campaign posters with “Islamic t … [Read more...]

Switzerland’s Minaret Ban: New Victims for an Old Propaganda

Last month, Swiss voters approved a ban on the construction of mosque minarets. It’s worth reminding everyone that among the 150 mosques built in Switzerland, only four used to have a minaret. Four too many, according to the right-wing Swiss People’s Party and 57% of the Swiss voters.Unlike other European countries, Switzerland has no colonial past in Arab or predominately Muslim countries, which many of the Muslim migrants living in Europe come from. Almost 60% of the Muslims based in Swi … [Read more...]


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