Europe

Switzerland Islamic council member defends Syria videos

Naim Cherni Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Naim Cherni spoke to the media in Bern, Switzerland, after prosecutors said they had launched an investigation

A leading figure in a prominent Muslim organisation in Switzerland has denied allegations he used videos made in Syria to spread jihadist propaganda.

Naim Cherni, a board member of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS), insisted his aim was to document the complexities of the war.

Prosecutors earlier said an ICCS board member was being investigated for violating a ban on jihadist groups.

Switzerland remains on high alert following the Paris terror attacks.

Last week, the city of Geneva raised its security alert following a warning that a cell of so-called Islamic State (IS) was in the area.

'Wrong signal'

Prosecutors did not name Mr Cherni as their suspect on Saturday, but the ICCS released a statement saying he would respond to the allegations.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, the German national said his films were "an important contribution in the fight against Islamic State", according to SDA news agency.

He said they had "nothing to do with al-Qaeda".

Meanwhile ICC president Nicolas Blancho said the Swiss authorities were sending out the "wrong signal" by targeting what he called mainstream Muslims with terror-related investigations.

Announcing the probe on Saturday, the Swiss attorney general's office said the suspect was "accused of having interviewed a senior member of the jihad umbrella organisation Jaish al-Fatah, of which the Syrian al-Qaeda branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, (al-Nusra Front) is also a member".

It said he had made the video "without explicitly distancing himself from al-Qaeda activities in Syria".

The office indicated that the man had not been arrested.

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