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Muslim preacher banned from public rally

The authorities have barred a controversial Islamic preacher from Germany from attending a planned demonstration in Bern on Saturday.

Pierre Vogel is not allowed to travel to Switzerland because his presence is considered a danger for public law and order, according to the Federal Migration Office.

He wanted to encourage Muslims in Switzerland to come out of their social isolation and help reduce mistrust, he told Swiss newspapers.

The demonstration by a group, the Central Council of Muslims, comes in the wake of a nationwide vote to ban the construction of minarets.

The main Muslim organisations in Switzerland have not been invited to the public protest.

Muslims make up about 4.5 per cent of the Swiss population. Most of them are moderate Sunnis, notably immigrants from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey.

A previous demonstration in Bern in 2006 was attended by about 1,000 people.

Urs Geiser, and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR