Switzerland: Muslims advise fellow believers how to integrate

A group of Swiss Muslims has published recommendations for integration in response to a nationwide vote which banned the construction of minarets in Switzerland.

The 2009 initiative to ban construction of minarets was accepted by more than 57 per cent of voters but was heavily criticised by international human rights organisations.

The Grouping of Swiss Muslims said its recommendations were not only for the attention of federal, cantonal and communal authorities, political parties, the media and business, but “in a large part, for Muslims”.

“Muslims must make more of an effort, but society also needs to open their arms,” one of the group members, Khaldoun Dia-Eddine, told reporters. The group was set up a day after the vote as an informal think tank, but does not claim to be representative of all Muslims in Switzerland.

Amongst their recommendations, Muslims are called upon to develop artistic, cultural, scientific and sports projects around the theme of integration. Federal authorities, for their part, are called on to create an observatory of legal experts to document cases of discrimination with a view to modifying the law.

Muslims are also urged to invite community and cantonal authorities to local mosques during significantly religious events such as Ramadan.

The recommendations are published in two brochures – one in German, French and Italian, the other in English and Arabic.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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