The Swiss who wanted Minarets Banned embraced Islam

The Swiss politician Daniel Streich, who rose to fame as a result of his opposition to mosques in his homeland, Switzerland, has now embraced the faith he reviled.

Daniel Streich was a member of the Swiss People’s Party in Switzerland. A well-known politician, Streich led the calls for a ban on minarets across Switzerland. He was active in building anti-Muslim sentiments throughout Switzerland. This sustained campaign led to him being given a high-ranking position in the Swiss Army.

Daniel Streich, born in Bulle, Canton of Fribourg, is a Swiss military instructor, community council member and a former member of Swiss People’s Party (SVP). Streich left the SVP over the campaign for the national ban on the construction of new minarets. He was founding member and president of the Gruyeres section of the party from 2003 to 2007. A devout Catholic, he however found Truth when he studied Quran, and followed conversion to Islam in 2005.

The man who once reviled Islam, and studied Quran with the aim to malign it explained the reason for his conversion saying that this newly discovered religion offered him “logical answers to important life questions.”

“Perhaps Allah will put, between you and those to whom you have been enemies among them, affection. And Allah is competent, and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran, Surah Al-Mumtahanah, 60:7]

Daniel Streich embraces IslamStreich resigned from his presidency in June 2007 citing his discomfort with certain “extremist” positions of the party, especially the campaign to ban nationwide construction of new minarets. While he in 2007 stated that he had “many Muslim friends” he did not make public his personal conversion to Islam until early November 2009, when he left the Swiss People’s Party in protest against their campaign for the impending referendum of Nov, 29, 2009. He then participated in setting up the Conservative Democratic Party cantonal section.

Steich’s case was reported by the most read daily newspaper in Switzerland, 20 Minuten on Nov. 23, during the week preceding the referendum and the story was picked up by the tabloid newspaper Blick on the following day.

Streich was an important member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). His importance could be estimated from his influence on party’s policy making, in which he always had a prominent role. His movement against minarets was aimed at gaining political attention and interest. Streich won the slot of military instructor in the Swiss Army due to his popularity. He was also committed to his party (SVP) and stood as a local politician in the commune of Bulle.

Streich attempted to understand the Quran and Islamic teachings in order to argue against Muslims on tenets of their faith. In the course of his efforts, the ex-Christian began to agree with and acknowledge the proclamations of the Quran. Born in a Christian family, Streich had a comprehensive study of Islam merely to malign and confront, but later his Islamic teachings had a deep impact on him. Eventually he de-linked himself from political activities and he embraced Islam. Streich has termed the SVP activities against the Muslims as satanic. He says that he used to read the Bible and often went to chapel, but now he recites the Holy Quran and offers his prayers five times a day. He further says that he cancelled his party membership and made public his conversion. Streich says that he has found the truth of life in Islam, which he could not find in Christianity.

“Islam offers me logical answers to important life questions, which, in the end, I never found in Christianity,” says Streich. He is now a committed Muslim, who attends the mosque, recites the Quran and prays five times a day.

According to figures from the Union of Islamic Organizations and Communities, some 3,000 to 5,000 Italians have recently converted to Islam from Catholicism. Recently the question of ban on minarets was put to voting in Switzerland, wherein the Swiss nationals gave the issue a legal status. As per voting results 42.5 per cent people voted in favor of the minarets and 57.5 per cent supported the ban, while the Muslim population in Switzerland is only 6 per cent. The most wondrous thing in this regard, therefore, is the support of 42.5 per cent of population for only six percent Muslims. The analysts claim that ban on minarets and Islamic rituals has attracted the people toward Islam. Streich has now focused his intentions on participating in the building of the new Conservative Democratic Party in the canton of Freiburg.

Freich’s new movement is in contrast to his previous one and he aims to promote religious tolerance and peaceful cooperative living, in spite of the fact that ban on mosques minarets has gained a legal status. He is vehemently opposed to the Minaret ban and is hoping to establish Switzerland’s fifth mosque and the most beautiful in Europe. Meanwhile the SVP have raised concerns over Streich’s position as military commander in the army following his conversion citing him as a security risk. SVP National Council member Alfred Heer cited the Fort Hood shooting spree as an example.

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