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abu ramadan Bern opens criminal proceedings in Muslim hate preacher case

mosque entrance in Biel

The entrance to the Ar’Rahman mosque in Biel, where Ramadan spoke.

(Keystone)

A judicial enquiry has been opened in Bern against the Muslim preacher Abu Ramadan, who allegedly delivered a sermon replete with hate speech in 2017. Ramadan continues to deny the allegations.

The imam, originally from Libya but residing in Biel (canton Bern), had faced the threat of deportation after last year’s comments emerged at the same time as revelations he had been living on Swiss welfare payments for years.

+ Read the background to the Abu Ramadan hate speech controversy

Now, according to the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Bernese prosecutors have opened an official case against Ramadan, accusing him of hate speech. The inquiry was opened on March 20 last, information confirmed to the newspaper by public prosecutor spokesman Christof Scheurer.

Initial investigations will centre on the translation of the speech in question, Scheurer said, and how Ramadan’s remarks should be understood in their Islamic context.

Interpretation difficulties

The comments, which Ramadan made in Arabic in the Ar’Rahman mosque in Biel, were said to have included remarks inciting Allah to destroy the enemies of Islam – Jews, Christians, Hindus, Russians, and the Shia.

Ramadan denied this interpretation of his comments, and called the person who translated his words for Swiss public broadcaster SRF a “liar”. SRF later said that they had showed the quote to a second Arabic speaker, who had confirmed it.

Ramadan also denied being an imam himself, saying he only stood in as a preacher when the regular imam at the Biel mosque was unavailable. He also said that he was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation.

He had his right to Swiss asylum status officially revoked in the initial aftermath of the controversy.

Exclude or integrate? How politicians would deal with Islamic fundamentalists

Switzerland’s political parties differ in their approaches to coping with Islamic fundamentalism. Some focus on anti-terror, others on integration.


SDA-ATS/dos

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