ZURICH – A gunman stormed a Zurich mosque on Monday evening, opening fire and injuring three praying Muslims, in the latest hate attack targeting the Muslim communities across Europe.
“We never once had a problem,” Abukar Abshirow, a Somali who said he was a regular worshipper at the center that attracted Muslims from around the world, told Reuters on Monday, December 19.
“We never had anyone come and say why are you here. We never had that,” Abshirow said.
The attack occurred shortly after 5:30 pm local time when a gunman stormed the mosque near the main train station in Switzerland’s financial capital.
According to Zurich police, two of the three men, aged 30, 35 and 56, were seriously injured.
A third sustained less severe injuries. All three were brought to hospital.
People at the scene told Reuters the Islamic Center on Zurich’s Eisgasse was used as a mosque, often by Somalis.
On Tuesday, Swiss police said that the shooter was dead, confirming that a body found near the scene was that of the assailant.
Two thirds of Switzerland’s 8.3 million residents identify as Christian.
According to the CIA Factbook, Switzerland is home to some 400,000 Muslims, representing 5 percent of the country’s nearly eight million people.
In 2009, a nationwide vote backed a constitutional ban on new minarets.
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland said the center was not a member and it did not have any direct knowledge of the incident.