France Closes Mosque As Radical Imam Defended Jihad, Incited Hatred Towards Christians Gays And JewsA mosque in the northern French town of Beauvais has been closed by authorities because of an imam’s radical sermons, which involved defending and celebrating“jihad” while also inciting hatred towards Christians, homosexuals, and Jews.
The mosque in the town north of France’s capital, Paris, will be closed for six months, the regional government told AFP on Tuesday.
“The move comes two weeks after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had triggered the procedure to close the site because the imam there ‘is targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews’ in his sermons,” Daily Mail reported. The minister said that such behavior was “unacceptable.”
Authorities also claimed that the sermons called jihadist fighters “heroes,” the BBC added.
Two weeks ago, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin started a process to close the Great Mosque of Beauvais, with authorities giving the mosque 10 days to respond.
“The mosque’s imam was a recent convert to Islam, Agence France-Presse quoted local newspaper Courrier Picard as saying. A lawyer for the association managing the mosque told the newspaper his remarks had been ‘taken out of context,’” the BBC explained. “The lawyer said that the imam, who was ‘speaking on a voluntary basis,’ had been suspended from his duties. But the interior ministry said the man, who was ‘presented as an occasional speaker but who, in reality, acts as a regular imam,’ had defended ‘a rigorous practice of Islam’ and ‘its superiority to the laws of the Republic.’”
This move follows Darmanin’s announcement last year that the French government would be cracking down on mosques with extremist links, adding that some mosques could be closed if found guilty of encouraging “separatism.”
According to the French Interior Ministry, 100 mosques and prayer halls have been investigated in the past few months. There are more than 2,620 mosques in France.
“The crackdown came after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class,” France24 explained.
“On October 16, 2020, Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was stabbed and beheaded near his school in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris. The perpetrator was 18-year-old Abdoullakh Anzorov, a Russian refugee from Chechnya who was killed by police soon after the murder,” the French outlet reported earlier this year. “Anzorov had no connection with Paty or the school. He travelled from his home in Normandy to kill the teacher after watching a video posted by a pupil’s father who was angry that Paty had shown students images of the prophet of Islam in a civics class. Paty was teaching the children about freedom of expression. He emphasized that they could choose not to look at the cartoons if they were offended.”