Of Minarets And Sleeves For Muslims

The two events impacting Muslims occurred hundreds of miles away from one another but they attest to the complicated world of how cultures and religions impact one another. In Switzerland, the nation voted in a special referendum to ban the building of minarets in mosques even though the vote was most probably in violation of the nation’s own constitution. In the meantime, in Sweden, a law suit filed by a Muslim female dentist to be allowed to wear clothing that covers her body even though her attire violates medical procedures was denied. She was informed that medical procedure required all dentists to wear short sleeved gowns and the Muslim woman refuses to wear such attire because it allows part of her skin to be open to public view. Of course, her face would be open to public view, but apparently allowing a small part of her arm to be seen is of much greater consequence. This raises questions as to when do rules of society take precedence over religious obligations?

The vote in Switzerland has no logical, medical, cultural or political sense since building minarets has nothing to do with the lives of Swiss citizens. This is an example of pure prejudice which can not be allowed in modern societies. At some point religious centered individuals have to accept practices which may violate their religious beliefs and the real issue is to what extent do people have to accept change in order to be members of a society.