Once considered the safest country in Europe, if not the world, Switzerland is now a potential target of a terrorist attack. Why? In the past few months something has happened to this quiet and neutral country where outside of an occasional banking scandal nothing much went on; at least nothing that merited international focus. Recently, a slew of events all linked to radical Islamists appears to have shattered the tranquility enjoyed by this Alpine country. First, came a polemic over an incident akin to the Danish caricature saga; that was followed by new Wahhabi leadership at the Geneva mosque; and a then a prominent Wahhabi figure was denied entry, just to cite a few events. This, much to the chagrin of the Swiss, has placed Switzerland on the Islamists’ radar. Initially, holding on to its neutrality, the country kept its doors open to various Islamist groups. One person who took advantage of this freedom was Said Ramadan, founder of the World Islamic League and a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood; he established the Geneva Islamic Center. One of his children, a prominent figure in the radical world of politicized Islam is Tariq Ramadan, born and living in Switzerland, until Oxford and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair offered him a job. His brother Hani, who has been involved in multiple controversies over his extremist speeches, is currently head of the Geneva Islamic center. Today, the stronghold of Islamists over the Geneva Muslim community continues unabated. At the end of March, four executives of the Geneva mosque were swiftly fired by the mosque’s new director, an imam recently arrived from Jeddah. Speculation has it that they were not radical enough. The new imam, Youssef Ibram, a Moroccan, trained first in his native country and then in Saudi Arabia, where he studied Islamic law for six years. Olivier Guitta reports.
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