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Qatar ends funding of Swiss Muslim Cultural Institute

Qatar funded projects in Switzerland, including a building complex costing CHF22 million ($21.5 million), have been stopped. The decision comes amid controversial revelations of the ‘Qatar Papers,’ a book published by French journalists.

The founder of the Swiss Muslim Cultural Institute Mohamed Karmous, through whom the Qatari funds were reportedly being channeled, confirmed such projects had come to a halt, according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

The cultural organisation is best known for its Museum of Islamic Civilisations in the western Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds that was inaugurated in 2016. In total, it is estimated that the institute received around CHF4 million from the Qatar Charity foundation. This sum included support for the mosques of Prilly, Bienne and Lugano.

Losing Qatari funding will have a significant impact on the Swiss Muslim Cultural Institute. The Museum of Islamic Civilisations is not profitable as it receives few visitors. Its long-term success was dependent on revenue from a proposed complex next door that would include a mosque and a swimming pool with separate hours for women. Qatar Charity was involved in the purchase of the land for CHF1 million but construction costs of around CHF22 million will not be forthcoming as planned.