In 2009 in Switzerland more than 57% of voters and 22 out of 26 provinces voted in favor of imposing a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques. In 2011, France introduced a law against covering one’s face in public. Muslim women in full-face veils, or niqab, were banned from any public activity including walking down the street, taking a bus, going to the shops or collecting their children from school. That same year, another law that banned saying prayers in the street, a practice by French Muslims unable to find space in mosques, came into effect in Paris.
In a recent ruling, a Cologne’s (Germany) District Court criminalized the religious circumcision of minors, even with the consent of parents. In Hof, a small German town near the Czeck border, four German citizens filed criminal complaints with the local prosecutor against a local Rabbi alleging the crime of performing ritual circumcisions. In New York, the City’s Board of Health voted earlier this month to require parents to sign a consent form before having their child undergo an Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual.
Those favoring the regulation of circumcisions cite as their main reason the health risks to the children of certain circumcision rituals. The principal reason put forth for banning the construction of minarets was to eliminate conflict. Proponents of the law prohibiting the covering of the face saw the law as a way to prevent the oppression of women in Islamic communities.
Is there a trend of governments trying to eliminate religion and impose secularism as the new religion?
Are governments being insensitive to religious beliefs, or are governments only looking out for the wellbeing of their citizens?
Do these laws violate the right of individuals to practice their religion?