Last year award-winning Swiss journalist Kurt Pelder, above, warned that the An’Nur mosque in Winterhur, inset, was brainwashing young Muslims into committing violent acts.
“No, no, no!” said Mosque officials.
They denied radicalising youngsters and insisted that it would throw out anyone who tried.
And Swiss police chief Nicoletta Della Valle went on record to say it was a “cliché” to think of mosques brainwashing youngsters, and that radicalisation is more likely to be conducted over the Internet.
Well, Pelder was proved right this week when police arrested the mosque’s Imam for allegedly urging his followers to kill fellow Muslims who refused to join communal prayers.
In a statement, the prosecutor in Zurich’s cantonal government said the unnamed imam, an Ethiopian national, had been detained for incitement to violence.
The prosecutor’s statement said that, during an October 21 sermon, the imam:
Called for the assassination of Muslims who refuse to participate in communal prayers in the mosque.
Three of the imam’s followers were also being held and investigated but the prosecutor said it was “unclear” what role they played in the alleged call to violence.
Separately, Zurich police raided the mosque early Monday and arrested three other men – aged 23 to 35 – over suspected immigration violations.
According to one news outlet, the Ethiopian cleric starting working at the mosque recently, replacing a predecessor who was forced to leave amid accusations that he was preaching extremism.
Swiss media have further reported that the mosque’s landlords do not intend to extend its lease, possibly forcing its closure by the of the year.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake