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Swiss against Islam as an official religion

Almost two-thirds of respondents said there was no place in Switzerland for Islam Keystone

Almost two-thirds of people living in Switzerland do not think Islam should be recognised as an official Swiss religion, according to a survey. A similar proportion believes there is no place for Islam in the country.

Asked whether Islam should be granted the same official status as Christianity and Judaism, 61% of 15,617 respondents said “no” or “probably no” in what the Swiss News Agency reports was a representative survey carried out by the Tamedia publishing house. The results were published in Le Matin Dimanche and the SonntagsZeitung.

Of those who were open to a third official religion, 19% said “yes” and 20% “probably yes”.

Almost two-thirds (62%) said there was no place in Switzerland for Islam. In addition, 80% thought Christian values were part of the Swiss identity.

In August, the president of the leftwing Social Democrat Party called for a discussion about the status of Islam in the country.

“We should think about whether we want to recognise Islam as an official religion so that we don’t leave the training and financing of imams to foreign and perhaps fundamental circles,” Christian Levrat told the SonntagsZeitung.

“We must ask the question about whether there can be a Swiss Islam.”

Cantonal matter

It is now up to the cantons to reflect on this because the relationship between state and religion comes under their remit, according to Switzerland’s federal system.

The survey comes as an imam at a mosque north of Zurich has become the subject of a criminal investigation, suspected of inciting violence. Also, signatures are being collected for an initiative that calls for a nationwide burka ban. Italian-speaking canton Ticino is the only place where a burka ban is in force.

Some 5% of Swiss residents aged over 15 are Muslim, according to Federal Statistical Office figures for 2012-2014; 38% are Roman Catholic, 26.2% Protestant and 22.2% say they have no religious affiliation. Switzerland’s 20,000 Jews make up around 0.25% of the resident population.

What do you think? Should Islam be recognised as an official Swiss religion?

Talk show controversy

The media in Germany have questioned a controversial appearance on a leading Sunday evening talk show, Anne Will (public television channel ARD) by a niqab-wearing Swiss woman representing the radical Islamic Central Council of Switzerland.

The newspaper “Die Welt” criticised the programme as “propaganda for IS [Islamic State]” while the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described the woman, Nora Illi, as “the perfect propagandist of a nihilistic, annihilation cult because she presents oppression – particularly of women – as liberation”.

Other invited guests, including a politician from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party and an expert on Islam, harshly criticised the decision to give Illi a platform on German public television.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR