From a December Spiegel article that I missed at the time:

For the time being, what has been stopped is the minaret of the Islamic religious community in Langenthal. Mutalip Karaademi, 51, an ethnic Albanian who emigrated from Macedonia 26 years ago, is standing in front of the building used by his religious association, a former paint factory on the outskirts of town. There is a wooden construction on top measuring 6.1 meters (20 feet) It shows the height of the planned minaret, the first one that cannot be built.

Karaademi is the leader of the local Islamic community, whose 130 members come from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. The small mosque has been here for 18 years. At the outset the minaret wasn’t so important, says Karaademi. It was simply an ornamental addition. But now it’s a matter of principle. He wants to take legal action — if necessary going all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, where it is very possible that the judges in Strasbourg will end up reversing the Swiss constitutional decision. He loves Switzerland, this model country, says Karaademi. But this ban is “racist and discriminating against us,” a scandal for the civilized world.

On the contrary, as Italian politician Roberto Castelli was quoted in the article: “The Swiss have once again given us a lesson in civilization. We have to send a strong signal to stop pro-Islamic ideology.”

Wouldn’t it be something if, after being just about the first in line to open an embassy in “independent” Kosovo, Switzerland ended up getting its minaret ban reversed by those same Albanians they supported?

The guy behind the ban, meanwhile, is “Daniel Zingg, 53, a balding man with wire-rimmed glasses…The minarets, those ’spearheads of the Sharia,’ those ’signs of territory newly conquered by Islam,’ can no longer be built, he says….It’s a well-known fact that first come the minarets, then the muezzins, with their calls to prayer, the burqas and finally Sharia law, he says. According to Zingg, the ban is not directed against Muslims, although it is naturally true that ‘the Koran gives (people) the mission to Islamize the world, and the Muslims here have no other mission, otherwise they would not be Muslims.’”

And just a few more paragraphs from the article:

For the past 15 years, Zingg has been giving lectures in support of Israel and against Islam. He’s a politician with the ultraconservative Christian party, the Federal Democratic Union, which received 1.3 percent of the vote in the last election.

American author and journalist Christopher Caldwell recently published his latest tome, “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West,” a widely-read and skeptical book on Europe and its Muslim immigrants. What fascinates him about the result of the Swiss vote is the gap between the rejection of the ban in surveys and the considerable support that it received during the referendum. “It means there is an official discussion of Islam and that there is a subterranean discussion of it,” he says.

Sweet.

“That should worry Europeans.”

It should reassure Europeans.

Caldwell doesn’t sound the same alarmist tones in his book as other conservative authors who have dubbed the old continent as “Eurabia” and see it — due to higher birthrates among immigrants — as a future outpost of the “Islamic world empire.” But he also writes: “It is certain that Europe will emerge changed from its confrontation with Islam. It is far less certain that Islam will prove assimilable.”

So he’s saying the same thing except in as round-about a way as possible.

Caldwell believes that Muslim immigrants have had greater difficulties than other groups integrating themselves into European society…

Translation: “difficulties” = “reluctance”

Caldwell says that Muslims are a small minority, but Europe is changing its structures because of them: “When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident and strengthened by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter.”

Well said, finally.