Islam in Switzerland

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The Islam has in Switzerland according to the Swiss structure survey in 2017 about 380,000 followers (5.4% share in the total population) over 15 years in the permanent resident population, other data go in 2007 of more than 440,000 Muslims in Switzerland from (5, 8% share in the total population). Most of them have immigrated from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey since the middle of the 20th century . This makes Islam the second largest religion in Switzerland after Christianity .

The Mahmud Mosque in Zurich opened in 1963 , the first mosque in Switzerland


The history of Islam in today's Switzerland is older than the Confederation itself. It begins in the 10th century when Muslims temporarily reached the stronghold or present-day Switzerland.

middle Ages

Arabs advancing from Fraxinetum ( Provence ) in the south of France - also known as Saracens - penetrated as far as Geneva in 939 and in the following years found their way into Valais , parts of Graubünden and eastern Switzerland . This was made possible by a peace that Hugo , Dux Francorum, King of Lombardy and de facto ruler of Provence concluded with the Saracens in 941 and formally gave them the Alpine passes. With this he secured the support of Abd ar-Rahman , the caliph of Córdoba and won a possible ally against the threat from the north, where King Otto I was pushing south. Between 952 and 960, after the battle of Orbe VD , the Arabs ruled large parts of the south and west of Switzerland, including the Great St. Bernhard Pass, and advanced like a raid to St. Gallen in the north- east and Pontresina in the south-east . The Arab raids (“ raids ”) ended with the capture of the Fraxinetum bridgehead by Provencial troops around 975. Etymological derivations of some Valais place names from Arabic names are currently rejected by linguistic research. Traces of settlement of the Saracens in the Swiss Alpine region have not been discovered either.

Modern times

It was not until 1799 that larger groups of Muslims - this time Tatars - moved over the Alpine passes for a short time. As part of the Russian armies of Suvorov and Rimsky-Korsakov , they fought against French revolutionary troops in the Second Battle of Zurich .

20th century

In 1935, an Egyptian- inspired Congress of European Muslims took place in Switzerland . In 1945 the first Turks came to Switzerland to study at Swiss universities - partly with the support of the Turkish state (including the later Minister Tahsin Önalp , who did his doctorate at ETH Zurich ). Most returned to Turkey after completing their studies. In 1946, a group of Ahmadiyya missionaries came to the country and built the Mahmud Mosque in Zurich in 1963, the first mosque in Switzerland. In 1978 the Geneva mosque was opened.

From the beginning of the 1960s to the mid-1970s, Turkish guest workers came and a little later their families (see also people of Turkish origin in Switzerland ). At the same time, guest workers from the Islamic parts of Yugoslavia immigrated to Switzerland. Therefore, during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War, many people from these regions fled to their relatives. Islam in German-speaking Central Switzerland is therefore mainly Bosnian, Albanian (see Albanians in Switzerland ) and Turkish (see also Pakistanis in Switzerland ), while Muslims of Arab origin are more strongly represented in French- speaking Switzerland . The largest proportion of the Muslim population can be found in French-speaking western Switzerland and the smallest in southern Italy .

21st century

The proportion of Muslims in the total population over 15 years of age varies greatly from one canton to another, ranging from more than 8% in Basel-Stadt to less than 2% in Graubünden in 2017. Generally speaking, there are more Muslims in German-speaking Switzerland and in more densely populated cantons than in Latin Switzerland and more rural cantons (with the exception of the canton of Glarus, where almost 8% of the population are Muslims).

Litigation over minarets

Mosque in Wangen near Olten , with a minaret built in 2009

Legal disputes over the construction of mosques or mosque extensions ( minarets ) have influenced coexistence with Muslims in Switzerland since 2006. This involved the erection of minarets in the existing Muslim prayer rooms in three communities ( Wangen bei Olten , Langenthal and Wil SG ) as well as the plan to build an Islamic Center in Bern.

The Swiss People's Party (SVP) mobilized against the construction project; A parliamentary initiative was launched in the canton of Zurich , and on May 1, 2007, a federal popular initiative entitled “Against the construction of minarets”, which wanted to prohibit the construction of minarets in Switzerland, was officially launched. This initiative was adopted on November 29, 2009 with a clear majority, with most of the votes against from French-speaking Switzerland.

Islamic organizations in Switzerland

Since there are strong differences among Muslims due to their origin and culture, there are still many different associations and groups that maintain relatively little contact with one another. These groups usually meet in so-called backyard mosques . However, your organization is constantly improving.

The Ahmadiyya Movement of Islam in Switzerland (National Organization of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community ) has around 700 members and its emir (president) is Walid Tariq Tarnutzer .

In recent years, Muslim migrants in Switzerland have founded several «cross-language and cross-cultural umbrella organizations»:


  • Brigit Allenbach, Martin Sökefeld: Muslims in Switzerland , Seismo, Zurich 2010, ISBN 978-3-03777-090-0 .
  • Christoph Peter Baumann, Christian J. Jäggi: Muslims among us. Islam in Switzerland . With a foreword by Hans Küng . Rex, Luzern / Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7252-0551-5 .
  • Christoph Peter Baumann, Sarah Hess-Hurt: ISLAM in Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft . Manava , Basel 2014. ISBN 978-3-906981-44-4
  • Martin Baumann, Jörg Stolz (Ed.): One Switzerland - many religions . Risks and opportunities of living together. Transcript, Bielefeld 2007 (= culture and social practice ), ISBN 978-3-89942-524-6 .
  • Samuel-Martin Behloul: Muslims in Central Switzerland . From migrants to Muslims in the diaspora. A research report. University of Lucerne 2004.
  • Burchard Brentjes : The Moors. Islam in North Africa and Spain (642–1800). Koehler and Amelang, Leipzig 1989, ISBN 3-7338-0088-5 .
  • Philipp Dreyer: Allah's children speak Swiss German. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2001, ISBN 3-280-02674-1 .
  • Mark A. Gabriel : Swislam - How Much Can the Country Endure? Salpe, Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-9523801-0-9 (former professor of Islamic history at al-Azhar University , Cairo, converted to Christianity in 1994, he has replaced his Islamic name with a Christian name for security reasons).
  • Taner Hatipoglu, Samia Osman: Muslims in Switzerland. In: Tangram. 7/1999 ( PDF document, 1043 kB, 129 pages ).
  • Jasmin El-Sonbati: mosques without minarets . A Muslim in Switzerland. Zytglogge, Oberhofen am Thunersee 2010, ISBN 978-3-7296-0816-0 .
  • Christian J. Jäggi : Turkish- and Albanian-speaking Muslims in Central Switzerland. IKF - Institute for Communication Research , Meggen 1997, OCLC 78144944 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Federal Statistical Office: Permanent resident population aged 15 and over by religious affiliation and canton - 2017 | Table. January 29, 2019, accessed January 29, 2019 .
  2. Isabella Ackerl : The states of the world - Europe and Asia . Wiesbaden 2007, p. 97 .
  3. Samuel M. Behloul: Islam. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . March 30, 2012 , accessed May 9, 2013 .
  4. a b Hannes Steiner: Saracens. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . March 30, 2012 , accessed May 9, 2013 .
  5. Kees Versteegh: The Arab Presence in France and Switzerland in the 10th Century. In: Arabica, T. 37, Fasc. 3 (Nov. 1990), pp. 368-370 (English).
  6. Brentjes: Mauren , pp. 120 f., 129.
  7. Hans Leicht: Storm wind over the Occident. Europe and Islam in the Middle Ages . VMA, Wiesbaden 2002, ISBN 3-928127-83-7 , pp. 171 ff .
  8. Swiss discover Allah - Walter and Sonja convert to Islam. (No longer available online.) SRF 1 , June 30, 2008, formerly in the original ; Retrieved May 9, 2013 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. ^ Islam - Muslim migrants in Switzerland. Religions in Switzerland / Religions en Suisse, accessed on March 10, 2017 .
  10. Christoph Peter Baumann, Christian J. Jäggi: Muslims among us. Islam in Switzerland . Lucerne / Stuttgart 1991, p. 73 .
  11. ^ Forum for a Progressive Islam . Accessed January 22, 2012.
  12. today: "Institute for Communication & Leadership", Lucerne