Swiss refuse entry to Islamic preacher
Swiss authorities stopped an Islamic preacher at the German border late yesterday to prevent him speaking at a rally against Switzerland's ban on building new minarets, local press reported.
Pierre Vogel, a German national, had been due to attend an Islamic rally in the Swiss capital Berne this afternoon against a ban on the construction of new minarets, which Switzerland voted for two weeks ago in a referendum.
Vogel tried to cross into Switzerland by car near Basel at about 2230 local time (2130 GMT) yesterday but was refused entry and forced to return to Germany, daily newspaper Blick reported.
Local news agency SDA confirmed the report, citing Basel border authority spokesman Markus Zumbach, who said Vogel had been banned from entering the country by the government.
Switzerland voted to ban the construction of new minarets two weeks ago, a surprise result which has provoked condemnation across the Muslim world, European neighbours and the United Nations.
Vogel objected to not being allowed into Switzerland but cooperated with border guards and signed the order banning his entry into the country. He then returned to Germany, while two other accompanying cars continued into Switzerland.
The Basel border authorities were not immediately available to comment.