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Controversial Muslim group kept out of dialogue

The controversial Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) will not be invited to take part in talks between the justice minister and Swiss Muslim groups.

This content was published on May 4, 2010 - 15:14

The head of the Migration Office, Alard du Bois-Reymond, met a delegation of the ICCS on Tuesday and said it was “unthinkable in present circumstances” for them to take part in the planned dialogue.

He said the organisation must distance itself explicitly from the stoning of women and give up its demand to create a fatwa council. The ICCS says such a council is needed as a theological authority for dealing with Islamic issues.

Du Bois-Reymond told the ICCS leaders that the same laws applied to everyone in Switzerland, and that certain values, including the equality of men and women, were non-negotiable.

He said the majority of the 350,000 or so Muslims in Switzerland were well integrated, or trying to integrate, and these were the people with whom the dialogue would be held.

In a statement on its website the ICCS described its conversation with du Bois-Reymond as “interesting”.

The meeting “opened the opportunity to learn more about the collaboration of the [Swiss] Confederation with the Islamic associations and it allowed the ICCS once again to commit itself clearly to the Swiss legal and social order”.

It said du Bois-Reymond had described the “doors of dialogue as basically open”, and added that the council wanted to participate constructively in this.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has already had several meetings with established Muslim groups in Switzerland. The next is scheduled for May 19.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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