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Newspaper report Zurich and Geneva are top Swiss jihadist recruitment places

mosque with small minaret

A Jihadist recruitment network reportedly centred around the Petit-Saconnex mosque in Geneva

(Keystone)

Jihadist recruitment in Geneva centred around the Petit-Saconnex mosque, with two taxi drivers helping to recruit and radicalise people, according to an investigation by Le Matin Dimanche newspaper.

Geneva is the second place for jihadist recruitment in Switzerland after Zurich canton, it says. In all, 86 people have left Switzerland to try and join so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria or Iraq, the newspaper reports, of whom 18 from the canton of Zurich - including 12 from Winterthur - and 15 from canton Geneva. 

The newspaper’s investigation found that in Geneva, a network of mainly North Africans centred around the Petit-Saconnex mosque

Then comes canton Vaud with 14 suspected jihadists. Nine of these lived in Lausanne and most have Bosniak origins, according to Le Matin Dimanche. 

Bern canton comes next, with 11 suspected jihadists. The epicentre is the town of Biel, from which six people including three women went to join IS, according to the newspaper. 

These figures do not include children who were taken to Syria with their parents, the newspaper says. It cites a “particularly shocking” case in Geneva where a mother kidnapped her two children of 4 and 10 and took them to Syria.

+Read more about Jihadists in Switzerland

Le Matin Dimanche says its figures differ from those of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) because they also include people who tried but failed to go and fight with Islamic State. At the end of February, the FIS recorded 79 Swiss people who went to fight in Syria and Iraq. Thirteen were confirmed as having returned and 21 others have died. 

Criminal proceedings have been opened against at least 9 people in Switzerland and France. 

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