Muslim girls must swim with boys: Swiss court

A Muslim family in Basel has been fined 1,400 francs ($1,550) for refusing to let its daughters participate in mixed swimming classes.

Muslim girls must swim with boys: Swiss court
Nina Matthews (File)

The family had sought to avoid paying the fine on the grounds that the requirement for the girls to join the swimming lesson infringed on their religious freedom, online news website Le Matin reported.

The parents argued that, in accordance with the teachings of the Koran, they wanted to instil a sense of shame in their children before they reached puberty. Mixed swimming lessons in primary school, the family claimed, would be incompatible with such an aim.

Following the family’s appeal of the original Administrative Court verdict, the Federal Court decided to uphold the fine. The court stated that the obligation to participate in mixed swimming classes did not represent a significant assault on the family’s religious freedom.

The upper court said it agreed with the Administrative Court’s view that there was a “substantial public interest that all children take swimming lessons”.

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Imam found guilty of incitement to violence

An Ethiopian who served as imam at a mosque in Winterthur has been found guilty of inciting violence after calling on worshippers to murder non-practising Muslims.

Imam found guilty of incitement to violence
Worshippers at Friday prayers. File photo: Odd Andersen/AFP

The 25-year-old was handed a non-custodial sentence of 18 months and banned from Switzerland for 10 years, according to news reports.

The Winterthur district court found the defendant guilty of three counts of public incitement to crime and violence, multiple depiction of violence, and working without a permit.

The court found it proven that during Friday prayers on October 21st last year at the An'Nur mosque the accused called for the killing and burning of Muslims who refused to take part in communal prayers.

It rejected the man’s explanation that he did not speak Arabic well and had just delivered a prepared sermon without understanding what he was preaching.

He was also convicted of having posted violent images of executions on Facebook and distributing these to other people. 

The asylum seeker, who arrived in Switzerland last year, was arrested last November following a raid at the mosque.

He has been in detention ever since during which time his asylum application was rejected.

The An’Nur mosque closed its doors in June. It was alleged to have had connections to terror groups and to have helped radicalize young Muslims.