God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
Or Don’t Blame Others for your Poor Messaging
By: Steve Andrews, SVP, Fusion NY (@stevebandrews)
Today’s headlines: “more tension between Islam and Christianity”, “between the Arab world and the Western.” Who could possibly be surprised at this point about the recent Swiss decision to launch a ballot initiative that would ban new mosque minarets, and how it’s now causing an international kerfuffle?
The article in the NY Times offers no surprises either. It’s a collection of other countries’ representatives pointing fingers and calling the Swiss bigots, with portions of the article desperately trying to marginalize the feelings of more than 57% of voters. My favorite accusatory quote comes from France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner who calls the democratic decision, “An expression of intolerance.”
Well Mr. Kouchner, you might want to check your glass house before you toss any more stones Switzerland’s way. I suppose it would be ungracious of me to point out that similarly in 2005, France managed to “tolerate” its Muslim population into a three month long state of national emergency – with the spark coming from French police who managed to kill two Muslim teens by chasing them into a power station where they were electrocuted; and a ban on head scarfs.
All emotion aside, what’s fueling this international incident essentially comes down to poor and/or ineffectually crafted and delivered messaging. Some Swiss politicians are calling the vote an expression of fear, fantasy and ignorance. It makes for a nice snappy sound bite. But if this is in-fact the case, and I suspect it is, then the fingers should be pointing squarely at Swiss politicians for failing to convince people of their central messaging – or on the Muslim leaders (in Switzerland) for failing to educate about the history or symbolism of minarets.
I’m available and happy to work the Swiss government and/or Muslim leaders, to craft a comprehensive communications campaign that delivers a strong message to the appropriate target audiences. Please call Fusion’s main number and we’ll set up a time to speak. +1-212-651-4200