Islamist gathering Planned event in Zurich sparks security concerns

Members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland demonstrating against terrorism and Islamophobia

(Keystone)

An event planned by Swiss Islamists for early May is causing worry about safety among Swiss authorities.

Called “Islam Salam: Longing for Peace 2017”, the gatheringexternal link is expected to draw almost 1,000 people to the World Trade Center in Zurich.

Planned by the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS) for May 6 and 7, it includes food stands, film screenings, and a children’s day-care center and bazaar. Tickets range from CHF20 to CHF100.

Also on the agenda are speeches, music and poetry. Among those promoted by the ICCS are British singer Khalid Siddiq, Albanian singer Adem Ramadani, Malaysian poet Fynn Jamal, American comedian Aman Ali, Kuwaiti professor Muhammad al-Awadhi and ICCS President Nicolas Blancho.

Differing views

Some speakers are considered radicals, according to Swiss news media reports. As a result, authorities contacted the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) and the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) to ask whether Switzerland might consider banning some people from entering the country to attend the gathering.

Organisers, however, describe the gathering as a peace-promoting reaction to the “inhumane appearance and actions of the so-called Islamic State” group, which has used extreme brutality to establish itself in Syria and Iraq and claimed responsibility for recent terror attacks with the aim of building a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

To help reverse perceptions of Islam as characterized by “horror, terror, and war”, the organisers are calling for attendees to begin by changing themselves. “And it must reflect on the ways and means of how we learn to work together instead of working against each other,” their websiteexternal link says.

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