Swiss army introduces Muslim and Jewish chaplains


Central Europe



The Swiss army started integrating Muslim and Jewish chaplains into the service. Until recently, that was only reserved for Catholics and Protestants.

In 2023, the Swiss army will celebrate its 140 years of existence. Since January 1st, it also accepts Muslim and Jewish chaplains into the service. "This reform responds to the evolution of Swiss society, which is much more multicultural and varied", explains Noël Pedreira, a replacement for the head of the army chaplaincy, to radio broadcaster RTN. "We realised that the most suitable and competent people to accompany the military are not exclusively from the Catholic and Protestant Churches, but that we can also find them in other religious communities."

Jewish Tables

To help the incoming chaplains, new insignia have been created for military jackets: the Islamic crescent for Muslims and the Tables of the Law for Jews.

The Swiss military Chaplaincy exists of 180 people. Despite a decline in religious practice, the Chaplaincy experienced a resurgence of activity during the Covid-19 period, reports the Christian Swiss news portal Evangeliques info. "During the pandemic, we accompanied thousands of soldiers who helped at the hospitals, carrying dead bodies", explains Pedreira. "It was important for the soldiers to have an attentive ear to whom to turn to confide what they had on their hearts."



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