Published time: 11 Jan, 2019 08:43 Edited time: 11 Jan, 2019 08:54
Swiss police have defended their decision to fine a man who shouted “Allahu Akbar” in public, arguing that they would have reacted the same way if someone had been shouting obscenities in public, local media reported.
The 22-year-old man, named as Orhan E., claims that he used the Islamic phrase, meaning “God is great,” to express surprise after unexpectedly seeing a friend in a parking lot in Schaffhausen, a town in northern Switzerland.
The exclamation – often shouted by Islamic terrorists before carrying out attacks – caught the attention of a police officer, Schaffhauser Nachrichten (SHN) reports. The policewoman promptly approached the male and later handed over his case to city law enforcement, which fined him 150 Swiss francs for causing a public nuisance. An additional 60 francs in administrative fees brought the total to 210 francs ($213).
The incident occurred in May 2018, but was only revealed to the public this week after the man went public with his story.
Police have stood by the fine, arguing that the phrase was used in a “loud and clear” manner and could have caused panic among the public.
“At that time of the day, there was a possibility that people could have become afraid and horrified,” a media spokesperson for the town’s police force, Patrick Caprez, told SHN.
Police chief Romeo Bettini said that officers would have acted in the same way if someone had shouted obscenities in a public space. He also stressed that “it is completely wrong to say this phrase [Allahu Akbar] is forbidden in Schaffhausen.”Also on rt.com French police arrest knife-wielding man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ - report
Orhan E. for his part claimed that he did nothing wrong, saying that he decided to go public with his story because he had heard of a similar incident from December. Back then, a border guard allegedly punched a young man who had said “Allahu Akbar.”
“I was born here [in Switzerland] and have never experienced anything like this,” Orhan E. said.
Just because terrorists misuse these two words doesn’t mean I have bad intentions when I say them.
The incident has sparked a Zurich anti-racism group to file a criminal complaint against Schaffhausen’s police department, The Local writes.
The picturesque town may be justifiably skittish when it comes to potential acts of violence: In 2017, Schaffhausen was the target of a chainsaw-wielding attacker who injured two people in a rampage.
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