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Imam education Swiss Muslim umbrella group to draw up charters

There are an estimated around 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland

(Keystone)

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland (FIOS) is working on two sets of codes its members must abide by, the organisation’s president has announced. One of them will concern the appointment of imams.

“The first one will be a combination of ethics and civil responsibility. The second one will in particular remind the presidents [of the organisations] of their responsibility when appointing imams and in managing their centres,” said the FIOSexternal link’s Montassar BenMrad in an interview published on Friday by the French-speaking 24 Heures and Tribune de Genève newspapers.

He confirmed that the FIOS has intervened each time a problem had arisen over the content of imams’ preaching or potential radicalisation, especially in Geneva, Biel, Winterthur and Lausanne.

The case in Biel hit the headlines recently when a Muslim preacher was accused of calling for the destruction of Jews and Christians while receiving Swiss welfare payments. The man has denied hate preaching.

The FIOS works on prevention measures with both the cantonal and federal authorities, BenMrad said.

The FIOS president said he was in favour of additional imam training in Switzerland as was “happening at present”. But he argued that launching a complete theological training would be too expensive for the associations.

On the subject of financing of mosques in Switzerland, which generated controversy when some parliamentarians raised concerns over the opacity of funding,  BenMrad said these establishments were ready to “open up their accounts”. He said that most of them were “locally financed”.

The FIOS is comprised of more than 170 Islamic centres from 12 member organisations, according to its website.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/ilj

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