In the last few years, one country in Europe – Switzerland – has offered lessons in how to deal with Muslims that other Western countries might do well to emulate. For the Swiss have taken a tough line on those Muslims living in their country who have been unwilling to adapt to Swiss ways. Swiss authorities have been requiring Muslims to comply not just with Swiss laws, but with Swiss customs, and imposing stiff fines and other penalties for the failure to observe the country’s social norms.
And that’s not all: they’ve banned the minaret, and may soon ban the burka. All this has been accomplished, since 2009, without apparent concern for what might be the potential economic costs. After all, rich Arabs, especially from Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., have many tens of billions deposited in Swiss banks; Swiss manufacturers count the Gulf Arabs as a major market, and so do the Swiss makers of luxury goods (those celebrated watches). Arab-owned real estate overlooking Lake Geneva and in the Bernese Oberland helps keep property values up. But the Swiss have determinedly ignored all that.