(MENAFN- Somali Land Sun) Somalilandsun- The An'Nur mosque in Winterthur that has long been suspected of having links to radical Islamic movements is in the limelight again
According to the : Swiss authorities have charged an imam from Ethiopia with inciting violence by calling in a sermon for local Muslims who refused to pray to be burned alive, prosecutors said on Friday.
The imam was associated with the An'Nur mosque, which had become known as a hub for Islamist extremist activity. Prosecutors in Zurich said in a statement that their colleagues in Winterthur, where the mosque was, had charged him on Aug. 2 with calling for violence and violating immigration law.
Switzerland has been spared the terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists that have hit European countries like Britain, France and Germany, but the Swiss authorities have nonetheless been accused of failing to clamp down swiftly and strongly on radicals.
The man, who was not further identified, in keeping with Swiss privacy law, is charged with calling in a sermon in October for the denunciation of Muslims in the community who did not pray, 'and for those who continue to refuse to do so to be killed by burning them in their homes, prosecutors said.
He is further suspected of sending people graphic images of execution methods that he acquired over social media, they said. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 18 months in prison and then to bar the imam from the country for 15 years.
The imam was detained, along with three others involved in the An'Nur mosque, in November 2016. He remains in custody; the others have been released for lack of evidence.
This year, the Swiss authorities identified more than 500 people with connections to the country who were using social media to propagate extremist ideals.
The AnNur mosque n Winterthur had become known as a hub for Islamist extremist activity in Switzerland
Switzerland has been seeking to integrate the 450,000 Muslims living in the country and, like many of its European neighbors, has been trying to strike a balance between allowing them freedom of religious practice while encouraging them to accept Western norms. In January, a court in Basel ruled that two Muslim girls must be enrolled in mandatory mixed swimming lessons, despite opposition from their parents.
According to Swiss news media, several men were radicalized at the An'Nur mosque before traveling to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State.
In February, 10 people were arrested on suspicion of attacking two members of the community who had spoken with journalists about the content of a sermon.
The mosque has since closed, Swiss news media reported.
The imam also faces charges of violating immigration law by working in the country in that role for more than four weeks without the requisite permit, prosecutors said.
By: Melissa Eddy on Twitter @meddynyt.
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