Muslim chaplains remain permanently in federal asylum centers
Muslim pastoral care remains permanently active in the federal asylum centres. After a one-year pilot project, the federal government decided to continue the offer as usual. The presence of the pastors is appreciated by both the migrants and the staff.
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Three women are sitting on a bench in the Federal Asylum Center in Zurich. (archive image)
A total of six Muslim pastors, including one woman, work in the four asylum regions of Zurich, Western Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland, Ticino and Central Switzerland, as the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) announced on Tuesday. In addition, Christian pastors also work in the centers.
The costs for Muslim pastoral care amount to around 450,000 francs per year. The money in the pilot phase came from the operating loan of the federal asylum centers. In order to ensure long-term financing, the SEM wants to specify the legal basis in the Asylum Act. A corresponding provision was therefore included in the proposal for the revision of the Asylum Act. This has been in consultation since January 25th.
The pilot project has led to extremely positive results, said the SEM. Muslim chaplains are a valuable resource for the asylum centers. Asylum seekers are happy to use the service. The staff working in the centers appreciate the religious, cultural and linguistic skills of the pastors.
In the federal asylum centers, the number of aggressions, threats, harassment and other incidents in relation to the number of asylum seekers fell last year. According to information from last week, the SEM attributed the development to the prevention offer, among other things. This includes, for example, officers for conflict prevention and Muslim pastoral workers.