Tuesday, 7 August 2012

United Friends Challenge #207: Intolerance

Skyerider’s Challenge

Write an essay or a poem about one of today's social ills.  It can be fictional, such as a poem written from a drug addict's point of view, or it can be your opinion, complete with why a certain problem bothers you and what you feel should be done about it.  Or even what you are doing yourself, such as volunteering in a soup kitchen.

One stricture:  Don't let your piece be a lead in to a political rant.  We are from several different countries here in UFC, and I'm sure each country has its own problems. *smile*

The sun was setting on a mountain village in Switzerland, reflecting the shadows of the chalets and mountains on the snow. It was a beautiful traditional picture of peace and Swiss tradition. That was until the petition arrived on the mayor’s desk requesting that a minaret be built on the local mosque.

“A minaret” he gasped, “no, never” imagining the local post cards no longer being as traditional as they were, with herds of brown cows shown with backgrounds of chalets and local churches. He decided that it would not be so good for a cow to be pictured standing in front of a building with a minaret. Just not typically Swiss.

He called his secretary and dictated a letter to the local representative of parliament with many reasons why this was not to be permitted.

That evening he returned home to his wife and teenage son and daughter.

“How was your day dear?” asked his wife

“Just Imagine, Heidi” he said to his wife “I received a request from the local imam at the mosque”

“You mean Mr. Akbar; such a nice gentlemen and so polite.”

“Yes dear, I know” answered the mayor “but the request was going just a little bit too far. He asked for a minaret to be built on his mosque.”

“Oh, no, how would that look in our lovely Swiss village. We were even being considered for the village of the year prize by our government this year. That would just spoil our chances.”

“What’s going on” asked Verena, the mayor’s daughter. “I think that would be a wonderful idea. Just imagine, those minarets are so artistic.”

“Yes, dad “ said Hans, the mayor’s son. A minaret would be ideal in our village. I am sure it would be a success with the tourists, and think of the photos we could take.  A minaret surrounded by the setting sun over the alps.”

“Yes dad” said Heidi “and just think how pretty it would look as the cows walk past on their ascent to the alp.”

“Just a moment children, it just does not fit into our local scenary."

“Oh, come on dad, let us not be silly” answered Heidi. After all, I remember when you and mum came home after being invited to one of Mr. Akbar’s celebrations. You said how good the food was, and how you both enjoyed yourself.”

“After all dad” said Hans. It is just bricks and mortar.”

After the conversation with the children, Johann Weber, the mayor thought things over. The next morning he decided it was really a fuss about nothing, and after all it was just a decoration, like a church steeple. When he got to the office he told his secretary to throw the letter away.

“It’s too late Mr. Weber” she said. “You always told me to make sure the letters are sent in the post on the same day as they are signed.”

This was a decision Johann Weber really had to regret. The letter arrived on the desk of one of the most important politicians in Switzerland and it went further. There was a public vote in Switzerland and minarets were banned from being built. Those that already existed in the larger towns were left, but there were to be no more.

Is this how it happened? I don’t think so, but you never know.

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