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Media leaks Eight held over attacks at Swiss mosque

The mosque has long been suspected of having links to radical Islamic movements


Eight people are being detained over alleged attacks at the An’Nur Winterthur mosque last year. Criminal proceedings are underway. 

Nine adults and a 17-year-old had been arrested on Tuesday for physically attacking and detaining the two Muslims inside the mosque and threatening their families back in November 2016. The victims are believed to have given information to journalists about an imam who called for non-practising Muslims to be killed.

One person has since been released from police custody. Investigations into the others could take months, the Zurich cantonal attorney general's office noted on Friday. The group are accused of assault, confinement, threats, coercion and bodily harm. 

In related arrests on November 2, an Ethiopian imam and a member of the mosque committee were questioned on suspicion of inciting crime and violence after reportedly calling on worshippers to murder other Muslims who refused to take part in communal prayers. The member of the mosque committee was released in December but the imam remains in prison.

The mosque has long been suspected of having links to radical Islamic movements. It has been in the headlines for allegedly radicalising young Muslims in the region and recruiting jihadist fighters – charges that it has strongly denied.

In an interview on SRF, the mosque’s president, Atef Sahnoun, argued that keeping tabs on worshippers who may be problematic is not part of his job. He also denied that prayers being held at the mosque were radical in nature.

Atef Sahnoun

Swiss public television journalist Roger Schawinski (left) talks to Atef Sahnoun, president of the controversial An’Nur mosque in Winterthur. and agencies/jd

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