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After two centuries of successful neutrality, achieved mainly because it would be really hard to invade because of the many peaks over 10,000 feet, Switzerland found itself threatened by Muammar Gaddafi’s call for a ‘Jihad’ or a ‘Holy War’ against the alpine nation.
The Libyan leader made his comments while speaking at a meeting in Benghazi to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Let us wage jihad against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression,” he said. “Any Muslim in any part of the world who works with Switzerland is an apostate, is against Muhammad, God and the Koran.”
So any Muslims around the world who enjoys a bar of Toblerone or the sweet sounds of a Cuckoo Clock telling him it’s time to hit the prayer mat, will have to switch to Hershey Bars and a less musical timepiece.
Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Libya have been tense for several years. In 2008, Gadhafi’s son, Hannibal, was arrested in Geneva for allegedly beating up his servants. He was detained briefly and charges were later dropped.
Libya retaliated to Hannibal Gaddafi’s arrest by canceling oil supplies, withdrawing billions of dollars from Swiss banks, refusing visas to Swiss citizens and recalling some of its diplomats.
In the same month that Hannibal Gaddafi was arrested, Libyan authorities detained two Swiss businessmen, in what analysts believe was a retaliatory move.
One was finally allowed to leave the country earlier this week but the second was transferred to jail, where he faces a four-month term on immigration offenses.
Gaddafi called for the ‘Holy War’ because of a recent Swiss referendum that banned the construction of new mosque minarets in the country. He also urged Muslims everywhere to boycott Swiss products and to bar the country’s planes and ships from the airports or seaports of Muslim nations.
The effects of the Swiss minaret ban, plus German and French headscarf bans in public schools, is part of increasing European moves to draw the insular Muslim communities into a more secular European lifestyle. Although Gaddafi has little credibility in the radical Muslim world, there are always some headbangers willing to take the beloved Libyan leader at his word. The Swiss are expert diplomats, they are facing their biggest challenge since World War II.
A Swiss poster against the building of more Minarets