The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

City of Zurich creates report office for racism and radicalization

Updated at 12 Mar 2024 6:30 pm

The city of Zurich has created a reporting office for its schools for cases of anti-Semitism, racism, interreligious conflicts or radicalization. It will be available not only to pupils, but also to parents and school staff, as announced by the City of Zurich's Department of Education and Sport on Tuesday.

The city councillor responsible, Filippo Leutenegger, decided this as an immediate measure, it was reported. The reporting office is part of the Violence Prevention Unit. The exact tasks and the "city-wide embedding" will be decided at a later date.

This is the city's response to various political initiatives on the subject, which had called for a more effective fight against anti-Semitism in particular.

The Violence Prevention Unit receives reports, provides advice and, if necessary, calls in other specialists. When it comes to radicalization, the hotline can have a preventative effect and work closely with the Zurich city police if necessary.

The reporting office will also "serve as an observation and analysis tool" in order to assess the situation at Zurich's elementary school and, if necessary, initiate measures, according to the press release.

Reaction to knife attack in Zurich

Meanwhile, the creation of the report office by the city of Zurich is also a reaction to the attack by a 15-year-old with a stabbing weapon on an orthodox Jew in Zurich-Selnau on March 2. The 50-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries.

The perpetrator, who was naturalized in Switzerland in 2011, called for a "worldwide fight against Jews" in a video in Arabic and expressed solidarity with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist network. Most recently, all parties represented in the Zurich Cantonal Council called for an action plan against anti-Semitism and racism in schools in a joint motion.

Incidents of anti-Semitism have increased in Switzerland since the Hamas attack in Israel in October 2023 and the war in the Middle East. At the beginning of February, the Federal Council announced that it would work with the cantons to develop a strategy and an action plan against racism and antisemitism. It will also examine whether a new commissioner for combating racism and anti-Semitism should be appointed.


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