Feb 28, 2010

About the Gaddafi - Switzerland feud

Libya's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi (pictured) has called for a jihad, or holy war, against Switzerland as an ongoing diplomatic row between the two nations comes to the boiling point.

The BBC reports that Gaddafi criticized a recent Swiss vote against the building of minarets and said Muslims must boycott the country.

The Libya vs. Switzerland feud began in 2008, when a son and daughter-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi were arrested in Geneva and accused of assaulting two servants.

The couple denied wrongdoing and the charges were quickly dropped, but the row continued.

Offended by Swiss newspaper portrayals of his son, Gaddafi withdrew billions in Libyan funds from Swiss banks in July of last year, prompting the Swiss president to fly to Tripoli to apologize for the arrest.

Colonel Gaddafi was still angry and six months ago two Swiss businessmen were arrested in Tripoli for overstaying their visas. One was allowed to leave Libya last week, but the second was thrown in prison for a four-month term.

But Libya has not been the only one stoking the feud.

On Feb. 14, Switzerland banned 188 Libyans including Col. Gaddafi himself, from entering its country. Libya immediately retaliated, freezing all visas of citizens belonging to the 25 European countries (including Switzerland) that belong to the continent's shared visa system, called Schengen.

More here and here.