Concerned about the influence of political Islam, the Swiss canton of Aargau wants to lobby for an Islam task force at federal level

Together with other cantons, Aargau wants to create a national Islam task force. This was announced by the government in its response to a motion by FDP councillor Adrian Schoop. However, the task force is not to be a security agency, but a group of experts to research political Islam.The fiercest critic of Islam in Aargau, Andreas Glarner of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), is no longer a member of the Grand Council. However, the influence of political Islam in the canton continues to raise questions – some of which FDP councillor Adrian Schoop has raised in an interpellation.The critical motion of the young liberal states, among other things, that hate preachers are appearing in Aargau mosques and that the Association of Aargau Muslims has been infiltrated by militant radical groups. Schoop also asks whether the government knows that there are Koran schools in Aargau where hate and intolerance are taught.In addition, he considers it possible that mosques in Aargau are supported with money from Kuwait or Qatar in order to spread the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood here. Schoop points out that in twelve mosques in Aargau an imam preaches who is assigned from Turkey and implements political Islam. He criticises the fact that there is no register of imams in Aargau and that they do not have to pass an examination.Finally, Schoop asks whether the government is willing to set up a cantonal “Islam task force”. In such a task force, experts should deal with the documentation of all activities of political Islam in Aargau, the FDP councillor demands.

In its answer, the government basically states that the liberal democratic system and the secular legal order are not negotiable. Therefore, tendencies towards political Islam in Aargau should be critically observed. And the government wants to advocate for an Islam task force at the national level.

However, this should not be a security authority, but a group of experts to research political Islam. The task force could then support cultural, educational and security institutions with its results, says the government.The government council is more reassuring about the other points of criticism. There does not exist a Koranic school, but only a hostel for Muslim youths in Buchs. There is no register not only for imams, but also for clerics of other religions. The Association of Aargau Muslims is not infiltrated, it even runs a project against the radicalisation of young people.The government maintains that foreign imams need a permit to work in Aargau. More transparency in the financing of religious institutions must be established at the federal level.

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