Religious freedom is generally respected in Swiss prisons, according to a study released on Wednesday in Bern by the National Fund for Scientific Research.
The report says Christianity is still the most common religion among inmates, but there is an increase in the number of prisoners calling themselves Muslims and Buddhists.
Religious practices in jails is not impeded, the study concludes.
Specifically regarding Muslims, the study says that staff and non-Muslim inmates often have stereotypical assumptions that Muslims are violent and oppress women. On the other hand, Muslims face new challenges, particularly in regards to Ramadan, Friday prayers and dietary rules.
The large prisons make concessions to meet these needs, but Muslims have to take the initiative. The Department of Prisons allows some exceptions for Ramadan, and occasionally an imam will lead Friday prayers. but unlike the Christian denominations, the imam doesn't have an office on the premises. The prohibition on eating pork sometimes leads to tensions. In some prisons, the inmates can eat halal meat, but must pay for it themselves. In some prisons, they use bath towels instead of a prayer rug, since those are prohibited.