At the beginning of May this year, on the basis of a legal opinion, the canton of Zurich’s head of security advised all municipalities in the canton to ban Quran distribution by the controversial organisation “Lies!”, which translates to “Read!” in English. The organisation has been accused of using Quran distribution as a pretext for recruiting people for Jihad.
According to Swiss broadcaster SFR, the municipality of Zurich City has gone against the canton’s advice by allowing “Lies!” to operate in the city this coming Saturday. Richard Wolff, security chief of Zurich City, told the broadcaster that there is no evidence or court ruling against the group, only allegations. He said: “We must safeguard fundamental rights and not ban something without foundation.”
The canton’s security department cannot understand the decision, describing it as “incomprehensible”. Urs Grob, media spokesman for the department said: “Lies!’s actions abuse religious freedom and freedom of speech.”
The city is waiting for more information before deciding whether there are sufficient grounds for a ban. It has however placed some restrictions on “Lies!’s” activities. No more than five people can be involved, and all of them must give their details to the authorities.
Indications suggest “Lies!” is organised by a group called “Die wahre Religion” (True religion) with the aim of recruiting members for so-called Islamic State. “Die wahre Religion” has been banned in Germany since November last year, according to Zeit Online. According to the New York Times, there were concerns in Germany that the group was trying to recruit Muslim refugees.