According to Le Matin, recent German government action against salafistes is pushing the Swiss authorities to act.
According to Tages Anzeiger, some Swiss towns have already taken action. The town of Brugg in the canton of Aargau banned distribution of the Quran in 2012. “It seems that radical islamists were behind it” explained the town’s president, “…we are quite restrictive generally, including scientology and Gideon bibles.”
Baden, another town in Aargau, adopted a different approach, allowing only two distribution permits per year per group. This reduced the presence of salafiste preachers on the streets, said the town’s president.
Currently, most German towns tolerate “recitations” on the street on the grounds of religious liberty. Salafistes are doing this on the streets of Zurich and Winterthur, which has not alway pleased the authorities, according to 20 Minuten.
The director of public security in Zurich, expressed no support for distribution of the Quran, but pointed out that there is no obvious way to ban it. He has asked external experts to look at ways of limiting the practice or even banning it. “We want to put those close to jihadists and promoters of violence out of action.”
National councillor Lukas Reimann thinks Switzerland is too lenient. “Germany cracked down, Austria banned foreign finance. Only Switzerland has failed to react.” When the Swiss government sits over winter, he is going to ask the Federal Council whether it plans to ban “recitations”. It is important to ensure those involved don’t go underground if there is a ban, he added.
In the meantime Swiss salafistes continue their activities. A man of Macedonian origin planned to distribute islamic texts in Basel last week, including audio books aimed at children. According to newspaper reports, the organisation behind the distribution was a German salafiste group called “We love Muhammad”, created to replace a group called “Die Wahre Religion”, which was banned in Germany.