An imam, accused of hate speech, who came to Switzerland from Libya 1998, and was granted asylum in 2001, has been stripped of his refugee status.
Abu Ramadan, 64, who lives in Nidau, Canton Bern, has returned to Libya on a Libyan passport 12 times since 2013. The large number of trips over an extended period, and their duration, showed that he no longer needed Swiss asylum, decided the Federal Administrative Court (FAC).
The FAC decision upholds a July judgment by the Secretariat of State for Migration (SEM).
Ramadan has also been of interest to Swiss authorities for possible hate speech while preaching at the Ar-Rahman mosque in Bienne. There, he was recorded calling for the destruction of enemies he perceives of Sunni Islam, including Jews, Christians, Hindus, Russians and Shiite Muslims, according to reports in Tages-Anzeiger and on Swiss Public Radio, SRF.
In an interview published by Der Bund and Tages-Anzeiger, the imam insisted that he has not called for harm to these groups, saying that his words were mistranslated from the Arabic. The German-language newspapers stand by their translations.
Some Swiss authorities are also concerned that, since 2004, Ramadan has been receiving social assistance totalling about CHF 600,000, and that, at 64 years old, he’ll soon be eligible for a Swiss pension.
In spite of losing his asylum and refugee status, Ramadan still has a card to play – a C Permit – that might keep him from being expelled from Switzerland. It’s now up to cantonal officials to determine his fate. An investigation is underway.
By Bill Harby
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