Friday, April 30, 2004

Secularism or multiculturalism? 

A muzzein, coming soon to a neighbourhood near you - how will other communities in the West deal with this issue?

"A US city has voted to allow mosques to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer, overruling protests that the chant is both a noise nuisance and offensive to non-Muslims... The measure approved at a contentious meeting Tuesday provides for amplified broadcasts of the call to prayer or church bells between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for periods of up to five minutes."

A city in question is Hamtramck, a suburb of Detroit, and the conflict has pitted the largely Polish Catholic population against the newer Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Yemen and Bosnia.

Meanwhile, on the opposite pole of the debate, French parliamentarians are considering "a 'secularism charter' for... public institutions. These include town halls, where Muslim women must remove their veils for official ceremonies, and public swimming pools, where Muslim women have demanded segregated bathing."


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