In “What the ruling on swim classes in Switzerland means for Muslims in Europe” The Christian Science Monitor reports that a large swath of Europe is trying to answer the question “When must a newcomer adapt and when must a host society accept?” With a massive influx of refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa settling in Europe, integration of cultural and religious norms in an unfamiliar society presents challenges—for both the host country trying to generously provide refuge to the displaced, and for the refugees trying to establish a new sense of home and stability. The Monitor writes that “Europe has been struggling with where to draw [the] line with its Muslim population, and the latest splash comes from a swimming pool in Basel, Switzerland. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg seems to have sided for now with ‘adapt,’ in ruling that Swiss Muslim girls must swim with boys. It rejected the appeal of two Swiss citizens, originally from Turkey, who cited their Muslim faith in seeking to keep their two prepubescent daughters out of a mixed, mandatory swimming class.” As both the legal system and society adjudicate whether religious freedoms can be an acceptable cost of admission for integrating into an established society, the culture war in Europe is testing the meaning of tolerance and equality. A free society benefits from the diversity that is expressed as people speak, dress, eat, and pray differently. This enrichment requires all people in a society to be inclusive, understanding, generous, and respectful, which has a priceless return on investment.
Ideas on this subject:
From the Bible:
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
From the writings of Mary Baker Eddy:
Through spiritual sense you can discern the heart of divinity, and thus begin to comprehend in Science the generic term man. Man is not absorbed in Deity, and man cannot lose his individuality, for he reflects eternal Life; nor is he an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance.
— Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 258–259
The reality and individuality of man are good and God-made, and they are here to be seen and demonstrated; it is only the evil belief that renders them obscure.
— Unity of Good, p. 53
Related articles from The Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Sentinel:
In “The beauty of diversity”: “I felt a oneness with God and thus with the universe and with my fellowman. This feeling of oneness brought a marvelous spiritual light and a warm sense of completeness—of being in and of God’s diverse universe.” And “Each individual idea of God, regardless of how different, is absolutely essential in God’s kingdom. God ‘saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31). This absolute viewpoint is a law of annihilation to the hostility and conflict arising from the human mind’s fear of diversity.”
In “Finding unity amid diversity”: “Different viewpoints and a variety of expression, when founded on a common principle, cause no apprehension and disunity. Indeed, they should enrich and enliven human institutions.” And “An understanding of our relationship to God as His loved child helps us to deepen our fellowship with one another, for we recognize that we are all members of God’s universal family. It is important to realize that the varied gifts Spirit bestows have their source in God and are ours only by reflection. This truth gives us the capacity to express love, intelligence, and joy freely.”
The articles above and others dealing with this subject can be found on JSH-Online.com or on CSMonitor.com.