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Swiss canton rejects proposal for first Islamic kindergarten

Published time: May 28, 2014 02:58
Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch

Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch

The Swiss Canton of Zurich has decided against the opening of the first Islamic kindergarten in the country, stating that the proposed institution’s ideological component was too strong and contradicted local educational standards.

Islamic association Al Huda was behind the proposed kindergarten in the town of Volketswil in northern Switzerland.

The kindergarten was planning to admit 15-25 children. Despite not having a license, online registration began in the middle of last year, Itar-Tass reported.

The central educational components of the institutions were highlighted as learning Arabic and the teachings of the Koran, as well as bringing the Islamic community closer.

The association identified learning religious values as the “basis” for everything the children would encounter later in life.

Zurich authorities decided that approach did not correlate with the basic guidelines of Swiss compulsory education – including tolerance, openness, and a willingness to engage in dialogue.

In its decision, the regional education department reminded that schools should make sure that students are not subject to ideological influences that radically contradict the compulsory education program. It added that the kindergarten’s objectives did not represent the pluralistic values of Swiss education and exposed children to one-sided views.

Al Huda said it will challenge the decision of the Government Council of the Canton of Zurich.

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