Swiss lawmaker resigns after ‘Kristallnacht’ comment

THE HAGUE (JTA) — A Zurich politician resigned after calling for a “Kristallnacht” against mosques.

Alexander Muller of the Swiss People’s Party said Tuesday he would leave the party’s local branch, which he joined in 2005, after writing on Twitter that “Maybe we need another Kristallnacht … this time for mosques.” Muller had been in charge of activity in two districts of Zurich.

The Zurich prosecutor’s office said it was investigating whether his statement constituted incitement to violence. Police searched Muller’s home and computer this week.

The Swiss People’s Party attracted international attention in 2009 when it initiated a constitutional amendment banning the construction of new mosque minarets. The rightist movement is the largest party in Switzerland’s Federal Assembly.

Dr. Herbert Winter, president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, called Muller’s Twitter statement “totally unacceptable.” He said it was “very offensive” to both the Jewish and Muslim communities because it “implies that Muslims deserve Kristallnacht treatment as the Jews deserved it in 1938.”

Winter also praised the Zurich prosecutor’s office for its “quick action” and noted that the Swiss People’s Party had distanced itself from Muller’s statement.

“Unfortunately, this party sometimes attracts people who don’t necessarily represent the democratic values of our country,” he said.

Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” took place on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, when mobs throughout Germany and parts of Austria killed nearly 100 Jews, ransacked and burned more than 1,000 synagogues, destroyed more than 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses, and vandalized Jewish cemeteries and schools. Some 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

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