Imam charged for inciting violence against … Muslims
Muslims who neglect to pray in a local Islamic community in Switzerland should be killed, an Ethiopian imam said in a sermon.
Now, according to this report, the preacher is in custody, having been charged for inciting violence.
The step by prosecutors in the northern town of Winterthur comes amid heightened sensitivity to the risk of Islamist violence in Switzerland, whose spy agency warned about the threat in May.
Prosecutors did not name the imam, one of four people they said were linked to the local An’Nur mosque and who have been under investigation since November on suspicion of inciting criminal or violent acts.
In his homily of October 21, 2016, in the An’Nur Mosque, he is accused among other things of calling for expelling Muslims who do not pray in the community, and even burning them and killing them in their homes if they still refuse.
He was also accused of sharing brutal depictions of killings via Facebook and of working as an imam without authorisation.
Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month suspended sentence and expulsion from Switzerland for 15 years for the cleric, who has been held in investigative custody since November.
Efforts to reach the mosque were not immediately successful. A number listed for the An’Nur cultural association that runs the mosque was no longer in service.
Swiss federal authorities say they have identified more than 500 internet users with Swiss connections who were using social media to spread jihadist ideas.
Concerns about militancy and potential attacks led Swiss voters to back a law last year extending the national spy service’s authority to monitor internet traffic, deploy drones and hack foreign computer systems.
According to this report, in June, Swiss authorities arrested a man believed to be involved in radicalization of young Muslims in the Winterthur area and convincing them to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The man was reported as having close ties with the inner circle of the An’Nur mosque.
Local media said the mosque’s previous imam was forced to step down over accusations of holding extremist views. Some reports said at least six young people linked to the site tried to go to Syria to fight with the terrorists. The mosque denied any involvement in supplying recruits to IS.