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Muslims want Islamic cemeteries in every canton

An umbrella group for Swiss Muslims says they should be able to be buried “with dignity” and is therefore calling for Islamic cemeteries in every Swiss canton.

Farhad Afshar, president of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, told the Sunday newspaper Sonntag he was preparing a legal case concerning freedom of religion.

He said that following the Bernese commune of Köniz’s recent rejection of a separate burial ground for Muslims, a legal ruling was necessary so that “the next time someone says no [to an Islamic cemetery] they are violating freedom of religion”.

Islamic law says Muslims should not be buried with those of a different faith – something already possible in some Swiss cities, for example Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva.

The Muslim community in Switzerland accounts for about 4.5 per cent of the population. Most Muslim immigrants came from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey. The community includes up to 100 nationalities.

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