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07.11.2016
Decision to deny al-Huda organisation right to set up Islamic kindergarten upheld


The decision by the local authorities to deny the al-Huda (the right way) association to set up what would have been the first Islamic kindergarten in the country has been upheld by the Swiss Federal Court (BG).
 
In ruling in this way, the BG upheld a previous ruling by the Zurich administrative court that it had been right for the Office of Primary and Early Secondary School and the cantonal government to deny the Islamic organisation permission to set up this school in the municipality of Volketswil.
 
According to this article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the BG ruled that the al-Huda Association’s concept did not meet the necessary conditions for the setting-up of a private school with a religious orientation.
 
The court acknowledged that private schools may indeed place emphasis on matters such as religion, but the pupils should not be subjected in any fundamental way to any educational or ideological influences counter to the aims of the such primary and early secondary schools.
 
The BG further criticised the lack of clear separation between religious and ideological content in al-Huda’s concept. Nor could the court accept the Islamic organisation’s notion that religious tenets should supersede core elements of prevailing law here. Neither did the organisers’ concept show evidence of any commitment to the humanist and democratic ideals of these primary and early secondary schools such as they existed in the canton.
 
The BG went on to say that, even though permission had not been granted to set up a kindergarten on these lines, it could not be argued that religious freedom was being denied. It emphasised that permission had not been denied on account of the particular religious orientation of the association, but simply because the pre-conditions to set up a private school had not been met.
 
Neither could one claim the court was acting in a discriminatory way, as it was pointed out that the education authorities took it upon themselves to scrutinise Jewish-Orthodox schools in the canton more closely, too. Indeed, it was as a result of this that they were ordered to provide additional lessons in languages and sport as well as to concentrate more on that part of the syllabus relating to “Man and his Environment”.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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