A Libyan imam, Abu Ramadan, who preaches at the Ar’Rahman mosque in Bienne, Switzerland is awaiting trial for inciting hatred as per a February 16 report in lematin.ch. In one sermon, he said before his Swiss mosque congregation in Arabic:
“Oh, Allah, I ask you to destroy the enemies of our religion, to destroy the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, the Russians and the Shiites. God, please destroy them all and restore Islam to its ancient glory.”
The imam was accused of inciting racial hatred, but still attends his mosque installed in a former factory in the popular district of Madretsch. He claimed his Arabic quotes were ‘mistranslated’.
The report adds that Ramadan is also accused of having received 600,000 francs (around INR 5 crore) in social assistance from Swiss authorities over 13 years, without any effort to integrate. An official explained, “We cannot strike out social assistance for a refugee, even if we condemn his remarks.” The imam’s lack of integration is reflected in his rudimentary French and non-existent Swiss German, the lematin.ch report states. His greeting to the neighbors is “Salam Alaykum”.
The local Muslim community is divided between those who support Ramadan and those who boycott him. The leaders of the Ar’Rahman Mosque claimed he was no longer allowed to deliver sermons there.
Last year, a journalist asked the local Swiss government to intervene to muzzle the preacher after an investigation showed that Imam Abu Ramadan continued to denigrate non-Muslims and justify stoning of ‘adulterous women’, the lematin.ch report adds. Authorities were also asked to close the mosque, but it remains open and Ramadan still frequents it.
A majority of Muslims in the area are young illegal immigrants without papers or work, easy to indoctrinate. Abu Ramadan entered Switzerland in 1998 and obtained refugee status three years later. In 2017, immigration authorities decided to “revoke asylum and withdraw refugee status” from the “so-called imam”. Reason: “He has been to his country of origin several times and is said to be in possession of a Libyan passport”.
The report concludes:
“This Libyan political refugee returned several times to his country, clandestinely. During the investigation, he did not cooperate with the criminal authorities: he refused to answer questions about his income. If convicted, he risks losing his C license and being expelled.”