French police search homes of imams from largest Swiss mosque

Geneva: French authorities have searched the homes of two imams from Geneva’s main mosque, the largest in Switzerland, the mosque said today.

The two imams, who were not named, work at the mosque managed by the Islamic Cultural Foundation of Geneva, which is near the United Nations compound and the headquarters of other international organisations.

The two live in the French border town of Ferney-Voltaire, according to Swiss media reports.

In a statement, the foundation confirmed the search overnight yesterday by authorities in France’s Ain department.

The statement said that following the search, “the authorities gave a signed document to the two imams which attested that no object was found that could lead to a prosecution.”

Police were not immediately available to comment on the search, including whether such a signed letter had actually been produced.

The foundation said that it “will make the necessary arrangements with the Geneva and French authorities to shed light on the reasons for the search.”

In August, Swiss media reported that two or three imams based at the Geneva mosque had raised alarms among French national security officials.

Today, a former spokesman for the mosque, Hafid Ouardiri, told the Tribune de Geneve newspaper that a climate of “radicalisation” existed at the religious centre.

He told the paper that some of authorities at the mosque held “extremist” views.

The Geneva mosque was inaugurated in 1978 by the former king of Saudi Arabia, Khaled Ben Abdulaziz.