Swiss Youth and their Faith(s)

A recent study by Christopher Morgenthaler of Bern University on the relationship between Swiss youth and religion has shown that religion remains an important part of their lives: 40% characterize themselves as a “religious person,” somewhat higher than in France (35%), the UK (32%), or Germany (32%), though far behind Italy (84%). More surprisingly, the study seems to show that highly-religious youth are in fact more accepting of religious plurality than other groups.
The relationship between youth and religion in Switzerland has also been studied by other experts, such as Janine Dahinden from the University of Neuenburg, who speaks of a new “do-it-yourself-faith,” highlighting the eclectic belief system of the youth. On the other hand, Andreas Tunger-Zanetti of the University of Lucerne prefers to highlight the aspect of “religious illiteracy” that is to be found among Swiss youth today.
The study showed that youth with a migratory background belonging to non-Christian groups (Muslims or Hindus) were in general more religious than others. However, even they are not as anchored in their beliefs as certain Christian groups, and often the “homeland” in general plays a greater role for their identity than their religion.

Government Takes Action against Forced Marriages

16 September, 2010

Following the publication of a report on forced marriages in Zurich, the Ministry of Justice is now drawing up a bill on the issue which is expected by the end of 2010. The bill may lead to tougher penalties, and is designed to improving the legal tools which can be used to fight forced marriages.
Many of the cases in the Zurich report involve Muslim families, however the issue is “not related to Islam as such,” according to Janine Dahinden, professor of transnational studies at Neuchâtel University. “It is more of a generational conflict between parents and children.”

The report also indicates that the number of people seeking advice with regard to forced marriages is growing. This is seen as a positive step by Karin Aeberhard, co-director of the Mädchenhaus Zürich, Switzerland’s only girls’ refuge. “It’s not such a taboo anymore,” she says.