Albanians in Switzerland established the Union of Albanian Imams of Switzerland (UAIS), intended to fight extremism and advocate for moderate Islam. Albanians make up close to half of the Muslims in Switzerland.
President Rehan Neziri says they didn't create the union in opposition to the Central Islamic Council (CCIS), adding that CCIS president Nicolas Blancho doesn't represent moderate Muslims in Switzerland.
Unlike Blancho, Neziri objects to separate Muslim schools, though he adds that in cantons where the law provides for religious instruction in schools, they support religion classes for Muslims. "More generally, we totally agree with the Swiss system of separating Church and State".
Asked about the headscarf, Neziri said that in Switzerland, as in Kosovo, most Albanian Muslims don't wear it.
The new union represents 30 imams from across the country. Neziri says the union, which is politically neutral, is ready to discuss the Islam debate with the authorities. He says they want to establish a relationship of trust and to give inter-religious dialog a central place. Neziri added that they will give a voice to the majority of Muslims in Switzerland, who practice a moderate Islam.