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Religious profiling Muslim umbrella group warns against stigmatisation of Islam

A picture of Muslims praying in an Islamic centre near Bern

“Islam in its diversity is increasingly being reduced to problematic elements such as terror and radicalisation,” federation spokesperson Gemperli said.

(Keystone)

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland has warned against associating crimes with a certain religion.

In an interview external linkwith the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZexternal link) on Tuesday, federation spokesperson Pascal Gemperli said that someone’s religious affiliation was not a determining factor in crime.

Muslim teenagers are not disproportionately represented in juvenile crime proceedings, according to Gemperli.

“We often observe that Muslims are quantified as a block, while Christians are split into their different churches,” Gemperli said in the interview.

If it were proven that people with a weaker sense of faith received heavier punishments than stronger believers, religion would probably even be classified as a violence-inhibiting factor, he said.

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Religion, like culture, was a very abstract concept, he added, so that drawing a direct conclusion from this factor to someone’s risk of violence was questionable.

Many phenomena, such as honour killings, could not be explained by a single reason but must be understood within the multi-faceted context of religious, historical and social influences, Gemperli said.

‘Islam belongs to Switzerland’

The Federation of Islamic Organisations warned against the stigmatisation of Islam in Switzerland, pointing out that since 2013 the number of cases of discrimination against Muslims had more than doubled.

“Islam in its diversity is increasingly being reduced to problematic elements such as terror and radicalisation,” Gemperli said.

Since 9/11, Muslims in Switzerland have had a reputation problem and it was sometimes even suggested that they cannot be “real Swiss”, he said. “It is therefore important to realise that Islam belongs to Switzerland.”

SDA-ATS/ln

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