Skip to main content

Cage director accuses France after being refused entry to Poland

Muhammad Rabbani, who has accused the French government of Islamophobia, says border officers at Warsaw airport told him France had placed him on an EU no-entry list
Muhammad Rabbani spoke to Middle East Eye about his fight to clear his name after he was arrested for refusing to handover passwords to his devices during a Schedule 7 stop (MEE)

The director of the UK-based advocacy group Cage has accused the French government of placing him on a European no-entry list after he was refused entry to Poland to attend a high-profile security conference in Warsaw.

Border officers at Warsaw airport on Monday told Muhammad Rabbani that he could not enter the country because his name appeared on the Schengen Information System (SIS).

The SIS is a security database that allows any member of the Schengen area, a group of 27 EU member states within which the free movement of people and goods is permitted, to ban people from entering any country within the bloc.

Paperwork shown to Middle East Eye relating to Rabbani's entry ban to Poland confirmed that his name was on the SIS list.

The documentation did not say which country added him to the SIS, but Rabbani said the border officers who stopped him confirmed it was France.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


"Polish border guards took me aside and said that France has placed me on the SIS,” Rabbani told MEE. 

“This admission just goes to show the level that France will go to stop us talking about the treatment of French Muslims."

Poland's interior ministry had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. 

Rabbani was scheduled to speak at an Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) conference on Thursday, where he planned to talk about the French state's treatment of Muslims.

Rabbani said he was "surprised" but vowed to keep raising awareness on the "persecution faced by Muslims in France".

Earlier this year, France's interior ministry banned Rabbani from entering the country and accused him of spreading conspiracy theories about "Islamophobic persecution" in France. 

The interior ministry outlined the reasons for banning Rabbani in a document dated 31 October 2022 which said: "His presence on national territory would constitute a serious threat to public order and [the] internal security of France".

The ban cited Rabbani's conviction in the UK for refusing to disclose his mobile phone passcode when he was stopped in 2017 under Schedule 7 counter-terrorism powers.

France imposed the ban a month after Rabbani addressed a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Poland in September 2022, where he accused the French government of having a "racist government agenda" and "terrorising" its Muslim community.

The OSCE had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.