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When Fear Turns Graphic (Posters for the poll leading ultranationalist Swiss People’s Party, more)

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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:27 AM
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When Fear Turns Graphic (Posters for the poll leading ultranationalist Swiss People’s Party, more)


SWITZERLAND stunned many Europeans, including not a few Swiss, when near the end of last year the country, by referendum, banned the building of minarets. Much predictable tut-tutting ensued about Swiss xenophobia, even though surveys showed similar plebiscites would get pretty much the same results elsewhere.

A poster was widely cited as having galvanized votes for the Swiss measure but was also blamed for exacerbating hostility toward immigrants and instigating a media and legal circus. “We make posters, the other side goes to the judge,” is how Alexander Segert put it when we met here the other day. “I love it when they do that.”

This one, for the referendum, used minarets rising from the Swiss flag like missiles (“mushrooms,” Mr. Segert demurred, implausibly). Beside the missiles a woman glowers from inside a niqab. “Stop” is written below in big, black letters. The obvious message: Minarets lead to Sharia law. Never mind that there are only four minarets in Switzerland to begin with, and that Muslims, some 340,000 of them, or 4 percent of the population, mostly from the Balkans and Turkey, have never been notably zealous.

In this heavily immigrant country the ultranationalist Swiss People’s Party is now the leading political party, aided at the polls by incidents like the New Year’s Day attack by a Somali Muslim immigrant in Denmark on Kurt Westergaard, the artist whose caricature of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban was among the cartoons published in 2005 in a Danish newspaper that provoked violent protests around the world.

Long article and more Swiss (and others) fear based posters at link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/arts/design/17abroad....
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