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Saudi Scholar Banned in Switzerland

Saudi religious scholar Mohammad Al Arifi has been banned from entering Switzerland and the Schengen countries (26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders), Gulf News reports.

With Islamic anti-social behavior increasing in the streets of Europe, travel bans have proliferated in Europe, reflecting the rise to power of conservative governments.

The decision extends a six-month ban that was originally imposed by the Swiss authorities last December, barring Al Arifi from attending a conference of the Swiss Central Islamic Council.

The new ban will remain in effect for the next five years and will mean that the scholar cannot travel to any of the Schengen member countries or Switzerland.

Al Arifi has been accused of advocating violence against women, homophobia and antisemitism. The first ban on his entry to Switzerland was imposed after two local organizations complained about him, prompting the authorities to bar his participation in the Islamic conference.

In April 2011, Al Arifi was quoted as saying that a daughter should not sit alone with her father because she might evoke lust in him. He argued that his words had been taken out of context. “Only senseless people would oppose a father sitting with his daughter,” Al Arifi said. “The fatwa attributed to me is wrong and I never said that daughters should not remain alone with their fathers.”

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