Protection of Jewish and Muslim minorities to be strengthened

The Jewish community has expressed concern about the security situation at synagogues in Switzerland. Keystone

The government plans to earmark CHF500,000 ($503,000) annually to improve protection of minorities, notably the Jewish and the Muslim communities in Switzerland, from terrorist attacks. and SRF; urs

The funds are to be used to finance education and awareness, as well as other preventive measures, according to a statement published on Wednesday. The move comes in response to calls made by parliament earlier this year.

The government will cover half the cost of the programme, with cantons, municipalities and third parties contributing the rest. However, the money must not be spent on security measures on the ground, as there is no legal basis for this.

The justice ministry has been mandated to present a draft regulation for consultation before the end of the year. It will also examine a legal amendment.

An expert report has recommended boosting cooperation between the intelligence service, the police, and representatives of the minority groups at risk from attacks.

The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities has welcomed the Wednesday’s decision, according to Swiss Public Television, SRF.

Jewish communities have stepped up security in Switzerland in the wake of attacks on synagogues and other Jewish institutions in Europe in the past four years.

+ Anti-Semitic incidents on the rise, report says

A report on anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland, presented by the interior ministry in 2016, acknowledged the increased risk for the 18,000-strong Jewish community, but calls for government funds were rejected.

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