With word that the Swiss had unexpectedly voted to ban the construction of new minarets the predictable outcry against such "racism" has begun. The Wall Street Journal, however, editorialized that the real problem is that the ban, which does not ban the building of new mosques, has no substantive effect on how Muslims are integrated into Swiss society. The larger question, though, is whether a nation is any more than a geographic entity. If some Parisian Rip Van Winkle wakes up one distant morning and finds himself in a nation that speaks Arabic, where the people are Muslim, food is by law halal and the government follows Sharia law. Is that fellow still, in any meaningful sense, in France? Is it simple racism for, say, the Dutch to want their nation to stay Dutch -- not just in terms of geography -- in terms of language, food, religion, government, architecture and all the things that make up a culture? Switzerland is small and whether minarets are built there is of little importance. The issue, though, is whether it is a legitimate aspiration of a people to want to maintain a nation as a home for a certain people.
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