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Swiss ban Egyptian preacher: Islamic group
Photo of Mohamed Salah issued by Swiss Islamic group. Photo: ICCS

Swiss ban Egyptian preacher: Islamic group

Published: 19 Dec 2013 22:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Dec 2013 22:08 GMT+01:00

Swiss federal police have banned an Egyptian preacher from entering Switzerland, says a muslim group that invited him to speak at an event in Geneva.

Mohamed Salah was billed as the keynote speaker at the third annual conference of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS) set for Saturday.

“We regret the decision of Fedpol to prohibit the entry in Switzerland of our speaker,” the council said in a statement.

The Swiss intelligence service confirmed to newspaper 20 Minuten that it had evaluated the situation.

“If we are of the opinion that he represents a danger to Switzerland, we are going to advise the Federal Migration Office or Fedpol (Federal Office of Police) to declare a ban on his entry,” the service is quoted as saying online by the newspaper .

Neither federal police nor Geneva cantonal authorities were prepared to comment on the case of individual persons.

However, the office said it can ban the entry of people who could put in danger the security inside the country or outside.

The Islamic council said that Salah was respected around the world, claiming that he had a two-year professional visa to enter the UK and is also the holder of a green card for the US.

With a doctorate in Islamic law, the preacher directs a an Islamic centre in Texas, the council said.

However, the declarations of the Egyptian have reportedly been extreme.

A few months ago he is alleged to have said that “execution” was the right penalty for a Muslim who renounced his faith.

By coincidence the preacher shares the name of an Egyptian footballer who is a winger for FC Basel in the Swiss Super League.

Last year, the federal migration office banned the entry to Switzerland and the Schengen zone of another cleric invited to speak to the Islamic council’s conference in Fribourg.

Mohammed Al Arifi had raised objections from critics who accused him of preaching violence and hatred, in addition to a range of other concerns ranging from his alleged anti-Semitism and homophobia.

The Islamic centre said that unlike last year there should be no demonstration to protest the latest ban at this weekend’s conference, spokesman Abdel Azziz Qaasim Illi told the ATS news agency,

He said Salah’s absence would have no overall impact on the programme for the event, which expects to attract 2,600 members.
 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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