Terrorism and extremism continue to pose a threat to Switzerland, the Federal Police Office’s internal security report for 2004 has revealed.This content was published on May 26, 2005 - 13:05
Switzerland is not a principal target for terrorists, but violent crime, youth crime and the activities of mafia networks remain causes for concern.
In its report published on Thursday, the police office said Switzerland does not play a major role in the financing or organising of terrorism.
Links do exist between Swiss residents and terrorist groups, it said, but these individuals are under constant observation.
The report made it clear however that "the vast majority of Muslims in Switzerland reject both the aims of the Islamists and the use of violence by extremists and terrorists".
Director Jean-Luc Vez said there was no evidence either that Switzerland was a main target for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.
But he added that the terrorist attacks in Madrid in March 2004 had shown that Europe – and therefore Switzerland – was not invulnerable.
Only in isolated and chance cases last year were Swiss citizens victims of terrorist attacks abroad.
The report said the main problem regarding right- and leftwing extremism in Switzerland is the considerable potential for violence whenever such groups clash.
The rise in fights at football and hockey matches at all levels is also causing concern. According to the report, hooligans from abroad are increasingly attending sporting events in Switzerland.
Additional problems remain youth violence and the activities of criminal organisations such as the 'Ndrangheta from Calabria in southern Italy, ethnic Albanians, networks from the former Soviet Union and West Africa or groups from the Dominican Republic.
Human trafficking is also becoming increasingly professional, the report added.
swissinfo with agencies
The Federal Police Office estimates there are around 1,000 rightwing extremists in Switzerland and 2,000 leftwing extremists.
There are an estimated 400 militant hooligans and 600 tacit supporters.
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