A Muslim man has been fined £170 in Switzerland for saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in public when he saw a friend, Daily Mail reports.
The 22-year-old man, named in Swiss media as Orhan E., made the exclamation – which means ‘God is the greatest’ in Arabic – in May last year.
police in the city of Schaffhausen stopped the man and charged him with causing a public nuisance.
But police have defended their actions, saying they would have reacted the same way if someone had been running around swearing.
Orhan said he had meant nothing sinister, saying: ‘We use “Allahu Akbar” as a greeting and almost in every other sentence.
He told, he was searched by police with armed weapons after saying the words out loud when he was astonished to encounter a friend.
A officer called him over, and she asked what I meant by that phrase.’
‘I was threatened with prison if I didn’t pay the fine. I was born here and I’ve never experienced anything like it.’
A police spokesperson said: ‘At the time there was a possibility that people could be scared and terrified.’
The officer had to inspect the situation because of the phrase’s connection to terror attacks in recent years, they said.
Another police officer said it was the manner of the expression which had led to the fine.
‘If someone’s running around the square swearing, we’ll bring them under control then too,’ they said.