According to Swiss newspapers, Walter Wobman, a national councillor and member of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), would like to prevent distribution of the Quran in Switzerland. He told the newspapers Ostschweiz am Sonntag and Zentralschweiz am Sonntag: “It should not be possible to distribute books as extreme as the Quran, which attack our culture and legal system.”
Another parliamentarian, Yannick Buttet, thinks it makes no sense to ban distribution of the Quran. “The problem is not the book itself. The problem is that some distribution is used by IS as a means to recruit and the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service knows this.”
In 2016, Germany banned the organisation “Die wahre Religion”, which was handing out Qurans in the street. Suspected of radicalising young muslims, the organisation is active in Switzerland, according to Le Matin.
Yannick Buttet thinks it is important to exercise caution. “Rather than ban distribution, it is important to target associations and mosques active in recruitment”, he said. Laurence Fehlmann Rielle (PS/SP) agrees: “In itself there is nothing wrong with handing out Qurans. On the other hand if we see that some are using it as an opportunity to build a jihad network, then we need to ban these organisations.”
National councillor Lisa Mazzone, from the Green party, condemned the idea. “It is reckless to suggest something like this. It attacks Switzerland’s religious freedom. Once more it is a move applied to a single religion. We repeatedly stigmatise one part of the population, muslims.” In addition, she pointed out that there are laws against inciting violence which will be bolstered from 1 September when the new Federal intelligence laws come into force, following last year’s referendum.
Earlier in 2017, Tribune de Genève reported that some parents in Geneva were upset by unauthorised Bible distribution outside a school in Carouge.