Imam Mustafa Memeti of Bern has been named Swiss of the Year by the Swiss weekly newspaper SonntagsZeitung. He was chosen for "his courage and his engagement in the most explosive debate of our time".
The Islamic religion was a dominating theme of the year 2014, according to the newspaper. Memeti was an outspoken supporter of religious tolerance and of the integration of Muslims in Switzerland.
"Constant reports of terrorism and extremism make it a challenge for us," said Memeti in an interview published Sunday in the SonntagsZeitung. "At Friday prayer services I often stress that we don't have any choice other than to open ourselves to Swiss society. We cannot operate in closed circles, we cannot construct parallel societies."