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Controversial Muslim preacher to face trial

Abu Ramadan was a preacher at the Ar'Rahman mosque where he gave the controversial speech in 2017. He has since been asked to suspend his duties as a preacher. © Keystone/Peter Klaunzer

The Swiss justice authorities have indicted a Muslim preacher accused of racial discrimination and welfare fraud. 

This content was published on August 4, 2021 - 15:17
Keystone-SDA/swissinfo.ch/ug

Abu Ramadan will have to stand trial in a district court, the Bern cantonal prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The controversial imam of a mosque in the town of Biel/Bienne is accused of inciting hatred against people from other religious groups and nationalities, notably Christians, Jews and Hindus as well as Russians.

The 68-year-old Libyan national is also accused of claiming welfare payments despite having an income from organising pilgrimages for Muslims.

He reportedly received about CHF590,000 ($652,000) in benefits between 2003 and 2017.

Ramadan has denied any wrongdoing, saying his sermons have been misinterpreted. He faces deportation from Switzerland if found guilty.

He was granted asylum in Switzerland in 1998 but lost that legal status after it was discovered that he received a valid Libyan passport in 2013.

It took the cantonal prosecutors nearly four years to conclude its preliminary investigation, including the translations of his sermons from Arabic into German.

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