An Ethiopian imam was among 8 people arrested and detained by Swiss police after a raid on a mosque near Zurich on Wednesday after he allegedly called for the killing of fellow Muslims who refused to participate in communal prayers, AFP reports.
In a statement, the prosecutor in Zurich’s cantonal government said the imam at the An’Nur de Winterhour mosque had been detained for incitement to violence.
On October 21, during a public sermon, the Ethiopian imam “called for the assassination of Muslims who refuse to participate in communal prayers in the mosque,” the prosecutor’s statement said, adding that a criminal probe had been launched on the imam and three others.
In a separate statement, Zurich police said another four men aged 23 to 35 from countries including Algeria and Tunisia were also detained.
“They were inside the mosque at the time of the raid, and were believed to be living illegally in Switzerland,” said Corinne Bouvard, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.
“They weren’t believed to be connected to the imam and three others, whose nationalities weren’t identified,” she said.
Swiss media have reported frequently on the An’Nur mosque, including on suggestions that it has played a part in radicalising young Muslims.
In the wake of extremist attacks in Europe in recent years, Swiss authorities have been stepping up controls and surveillance of suspected militants who could cause violence.