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An'Nur mosque Condemnation of hate-preaching Winterthur imam upheld

artist's drawing of a man on trial

Artist's depiction of the convicted imam during the original trial, November 2017.

(© KEYSTONE / WALTER BIERI)

Zurich cantonal court has upheld the conviction handed down one year ago to a Muslim preacher who worked at a Winterthur mosque, accused of spreading hate and inciting violence. The Ethiopian faces a suspended sentence and deportation.

The Zurich court on Friday rejected an appeal and confirmed last year’s verdict against the unnamed man by a district court: a suspended sentence of 18 months and 10-year deportation from Switzerland.

The trial on Friday was far from protracted: the 26-year-old defendant, appealing the conviction handed him in November 2017, declined to elaborate on the accusations, saying that he had already told authorities everything necessary.

Within half an hour, the questioning was finished, and the Ethiopian man had denied the charges – charges that included delivering a hate-speech-filled sermon in October 2016, propagating Islamic State violence, and working without a permit.

Specifically, the imam called, during his sermon at the now-defunct An’Nur mosque in Winterthur, for Muslims that don’t pray within the community to be “banned, rejected, shunned, and slandered until they return”. If this doesn’t work, they should be killed, he reportedly said.

+ More on the original trial of the Islamic preacher

The sermon led to a police raid on the mosque in November 2016, and after further controversy some months later, linked to attacks on mosque worshippers for having shared information with journalists, the association running the premises decided to close.

Owing to the appeal in the cantonal court, the imam has been held in custody at Zurich airport prison.

Defense lawyers argued that the imam in fact had little knowledge of Koranic scripture, and that he cobbled together his sermon with text modules copied from the internet.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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