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Religious education Banned Islamic kindergarten deemed too religious

Islam and secular education have clashed before in Switzerland


A court has upheld a decision by the Canton Zurich authorities to deny an application to set up an Islamic kindergarten. The ruling agreed that there was a risk the kindergarten could lean too heavily towards religious ideology and fail to conform to secular educational standards.

The Islamic group al Huda wanted to set up the religious educational institution for 15 to 20 children in Volkestwil and hire two general teachers, a part-time Arabic teacher and a part-time Quranic teacher. Both the canton’s educational department and government denied the application.

Earlier this month, Zurich canton’s Administrative Court sided with the authorities when the decision was brought to appeal. The court’s decision was published online on Tuesday.

The ruling said that the proposed lessons were weighted too heavily on Islamic religious instruction, leaving too little room for other studies. It was also not clear how the teaching would approach subjects such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex.

This is not the first time that Islam has clashed with Switzerland’s education system.

In February of this year the canton Valais chapter of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party announced it would launch an initiative to ban religious headgear in schools. Last November the Swiss government upheld a Canton Ticino vote to ban religious headgear in schools.

However the Swiss courts have ruled in favour of separate pupils who wanted to wear headgear in schools.

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