The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Anti-Semitic attack in Zurich triggers calls for expatriation

The knife attack on a 50-year-old man of the Jewish Orthodox faith in Zurich continued to occupy Switzerland on Wednesday. There were calls for the 15-year-old alleged perpetrator to be expatriated. Politicians and regional churches condemned the attack.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has issued five expatriation decisions since 2018, all of which were directed against people who had supported or committed terrorist acts, it told Keystone-SDA on Wednesday.

Three of these people have lost their Swiss citizenship with legally binding effect. Two others are currently defending themselves against the revocation before the Federal Administrative Court.

The procedures were carried out in view of the situation in the Middle East - in particular following the departure of Swiss dual nationals to the territory of the Islamic State (IS), as the SEM stated on request.

Further proceedings have not been ruled out: Criminal proceedings are currently underway against almost a dozen other people. And as soon as legally binding judgments are available, the SEM will consider opening further withdrawal proceedings.

Zurich security director in favor of withdrawal

The conditions for revocation are set out in the Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Ordinance: The SEM may, with the consent of the home canton, revoke the Swiss citizenship and cantonal and communal citizenship of a dual citizen if their conduct seriously harms the interests or reputation of Switzerland.

Zurich's security director Mario Fehr (non-party) had spoken out in favor of revoking the citizenship of the underage alleged perpetrator.

On Wednesday, Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider (SP) expressed her deep shock at the attack. She spoke with the President of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG), Ralph Lewin. Baume-Schneider spoke out in favor of an action plan against racism and anti-Semitism.

"Black days for Zurich"

This evening, all parties in the Zurich city parliament backed a parliamentary group statement. They condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms. "We will do everything we can to improve the protection of Jews and Jewish institutions", said Florian Utz (SP) on behalf of all parliamentary groups. Anti-Semitism is a corrosive force. It is everyone's responsibility to recognize and counter anti-Semitic stereotypes."

In a statement, Mayor Corine Mauch (SP) spoke of "black days for the city of Zurich". She wrote a letter to the 50-year-old victim and signaled her full solidarity with him and the entire Jewish community. "Zurich remains a home for Jews", Mauch emphasized. At the same time, she warned against general suspicion of all Muslims.

Churches against hatred and exclusion

In the evening, the Bishops' Conference (SBC) and the Council of the Protestant Reformed Church (ECC) expressed their sympathy and shock. As Christians and citizens, the ECCB Council and the Bishops' Conference distanced themselves from extremist, fundamentalist and violent movements that threaten religious peace and the tolerant treatment of those with different opinions.

EKS and SBK reaffirmed their commitment to dialog between religious communities and religious peace. They called on everyone to stand up against hatred and exclusion.

The Zurich SVP now wants to find out more about the 15-year-old Swiss national with Tunisian roots. It has submitted a request to the cantonal government to find out where and when the offender was naturalized and whether there is "potential for optimizing the citizenship procedure".


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