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Government engages Muslims in dialogue

The government is keen to continue and expand its dialogue with the Muslim community, the justice minister has assured representatives of Swiss Islamic organisations.

At a meeting with them on Monday, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said that the popular vote last month to ban the construction of minarets made no difference to the freedom to practise the Islamic religion.

A communiqué issued by the Justice Ministry quoted her as saying that the vote was “the expression of problems, but at the same time provided an opportunity to conduct a broader debate on the issue”.

The communiqué pointed out that the central authorities are responsible for preserving religious peace and coexistence. It added that the dialogue with Switzerland’s Muslims should be expanded to include further participants. The next meeting will analyse the current state of affairs, and discuss specific measures that need to be taken.

Monday’s meeting was attended by representatives of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland and the Fondation de l’Entre-Connaissance.

Farhad Afshar, president of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations, told swissinfo.ch after the meeting that they had outlined a number of issues, unconnected with the minaret ban, which hamper Muslims in the practice of their religion, and welcomed the continuation of the dialogue in order to find solutions to these problems.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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