Below are two articles from Blick Online, as translated from the German by JLH. The translator includes this note:
The articles chronologically bracket the minaret vote. I found them interesting, because they show that:
1. The government sat on the report discussed in the articles so that it would not help supporters of the minaret ban, 2. there was really some explosive stuff in it, and 3. the moderate Muslims reacted to the report — made public after the vote — with indignation at their colleagues who are exposed in it.
These articles also demonstrate what a salutary effect a little tough love can have on the silent majority of Muslims. Whether this is caused by good citizenship or panic, it still shows a way forward for integration.
First, the article from before the vote:
The Minaret Initiative:
What is in the secret report on imams?
Zurich: A report on imams in Switzerland is on hand at the VBS (Department of Defense, Security and Sport —sort of Defense, FBI and who knows what). Just three weeks before the vote on minarets, and there is no information about it. Is the analysis perhaps too explosive? The VBS report is still secret.
by Michael Scharenberg November 5, 2009
Do extremist Muslims in Germany influence imams in Switzerland? Christoph Mörgeli, SVP representative (Swiss People’s Party) fumes: “I do not accept this secrecy nonsense!” He will become active in the coming winter session. What is it all about?
A good three weeks, and then we vote on the anti-minaret initiative. The vote has unleashed a huge discussion about how integrated Muslims are in Switzerland. Whether they are grounded in our constitution. Or are pursuing fundamentalist-terrorist goals.
Now it has become known that there is a study in Uelli Maurer’s Military Department on the subject: The political attitude of imams (Muslim community leaders) in Switzerland. And what is the result of that analysis?
“It was classified in accordance with regulations governing sensitive materials,” VBS spokesman Sebastian Heber told the Beobachter. That means that the report is not intended for publication. Blick Online followed up. We wanted to know what is in the report and/or when it will be published. The VBS’s answer: Yes, the report is classified and “no publication is foreseen.”
The VBS has three levels of classification: secret, confidential, and internal. The imam report falls into the confidential category.
Mörgeli brings pressure to bear in Parliament
Mörgeli’s patience is wearing thin. “The results of the report can be decision-makers for the electorate,” the SVP rep fulminates to Blick Online. “I see no reason for the report to lie in the drawer. That is not acceptable in our referendum democracy.” He announces: “I will launch an effort in the winter session to make he contents of this report public.”
His SVP colleague Ulrich Schlüer follows suit: “This secrecy business won’t do. The results of the report should be in the open,” says the other freshman representative.
Politicians who oppose the minaret ban also demand openness. “It does not support trust between citizens and the authorities if available information is withheld,” emphasizes Free Democratic Party representative Christa Markwalder. Social Democratic representative Mario Fehr agrees: “Available information should be discussed transparently. That fosters trust and furthers the integration of Muslims in Switzerland.”
Too Late for the Referendum
If the VBS doesn’t release the secret report soon, Mörgeli won’t accomplish much with his effort, at least for the referendum. The winter session begins on November 23 and the referendum is the following Sunday.
At any rate, in the most recent “Report on Internal Security” by the federal police office is the statement: “In regard to Islamist terrorism and violent extremism, the following can be established: connections to the periphery of the exposed Sauerland cell indicate that an operative potential exists in Switzerland alongside the known propaganda and logistic potential.” In plain German: There are Muslims among us who could be capable of Islamist terrorism.
Does the volatile VBS report confirm this about the imams?
Is that why the VBS is keeping the results under wraps? So that the supporters of the initiative get no support and the electorate stays with the negative decision of the parliament?
For the voting public there is the frustration: We vote on the minaret initiative on November 29, and it is possible that important information about Muslim extremism is being withheld from us.
Swiss Muslims demand: Denounce preachers of hate
Zurich: The secret report about militant imams in Switzerland has caused an uproar. Now moderate Muslims demand: Turn the “hate imams” in!
by Michael Scharenberg December 10, 2009
“Moderate imams need a contact in the federal Justice and Police Department” demands Yahya Hassan Bajwa. The Swiss-Pakistan double citizen and expert in inter-religious dialogue told Blick Online: “As soon as they notice extremist tendencies in colleagues, they need a contact they can report to, without having to run to the police.”
Bajwa gets support from Saïda Keller-Messahli, president of the forum for Progressive Islam. She, too, is “not really surprised” by the Governing Council’s secret report. “Unfortunately, we hear extremist things again and again from certain imams.” But that, she says, is a minority. Altogether only about 15% of Muslims attend mosque. “But the majority has to have some way to protect itself against the militants.” For that reason, she too requests “that moderates have a way to alert authorities, when they learn of extremist activities.”
“Yes, that is really bad,” comments Sadaqat Ahmed about the hate tirades of certain colleagues. Ahmed, the imam of the Mahmud mosque in Zurich, says: “I know tolerant Swiss and less tolerant ones. But no person deserves to be designated an animal.” Ahmed rejects violence — no ifs, ands or buts: “War in the name of Islam won’t do. I would rather convince through discussion.”
One of the imams named in the report published in Weltwoche (weekly newspaper) preaches “the eternal irreconcilability between Crusaders and Muslims.” He calls for “violence against Christians and Jews until they are subjugated under Islamic domination.” The former imam in Krien in Lucerne — a Libyan with a “C” residential permit — took it to extremes. According to the report he called the Swiss “monkeys and infidel pigs” and endorsed their extermination.
“Imams must accept our laws”
Yahya Hassan Bajwa, son of the first imam in Switzerland, can only shake his head at something like that. But he finds it unfortunate that the report was given to Weltwoche, of all things, which has been targeting Islam. “It would be more significant to pluck out the violence-inclined imams and lead them into prayer. They have to know that such comments are unacceptable.”
He says that training for such extremists must be improved, and he demands Imam Training in Switzerland. “However, we do not have to teach the imams the Koran,” Bajwa offers for consideration. “Rather, they must comprehend what kind of laws and customs apply in Switzerland. And they must accept them without condition.”
A comment added to the article:
What Swiss Muslims are Doing
Several Swiss Muslims called for protests; other are setting to work on quiet background efforts to counter the fears of Islam in society. For instance, a position paper about the subjects that have led to accusations in public. The Islamic central council intends something public. This coming Saturday afternoon, it is calling for a demonstration on the Bundesplatz in Bern.