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.
Fearing a terror attack, 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, local newspaper Schaffhauser Nachrichten reported.
Orhan said he had been searched by police with armed weapons after saying the words out loud when he was astonished to encounter a friend.
He told 20 Minuten: ‘Suddenly the police officer called me over, and she asked what I meant by that phrase.’
Orhan explained he had meant nothing sinister, saying: ‘We use “Allahu Akbar” as a greeting and almost in every other sentence.
‘I was threatened with prison if I didn’t pay the fine. I was born here and I’ve never experienced anything like it.’
He was handed a fine of 150 Swiss francs and ordered to pay another 60 in costs, adding up to 210 francs (£170).
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.