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Integration issue

Muslim fined for denying daughters swimming lessons

A Swiss court has fined a Muslim man who refused to allow his daughters to attend mandatory swimming classes during school hours, as well school camps and other school events. 

On Wednesday, the St Gallen cantonal court issued a financial penalty of CHF30 ($30) per day for 100 days and a fine of CHF1000. The man, who is a Bosnian national, was found guilty of breach of duty of care and education, not respecting authorities’ decision, and multiple violations against the law on compulsory education. The 40-year old had appealed against an earlier decision by a district court to open criminal proceedings against him. 

The prosecutor had asked for a four month prison sentence and a fine on the grounds that the man had been living in Switzerland since 1990 and showed no interest in integrating or respecting Swiss laws. There was also a demand for the cantonal migration office to look into the possibility of withdrawing his residence permit. 

Faith first

Letting his eldest daughter take part in ski camp was incompatible with his faith, said the man. The authorities of the town of St Margrethen in northeastern Switzerland, where the family resides, have clashed with the family – whose members live on welfare – for years.

In 2015, a court had sentenced the parents for refusing to send their daughters to school as they were not allowed to wear veils there. The Federal Court, however, ruled in their favour and authorised the eldest daughter to the wear a veil to school on the grounds of religious freedom.



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