Darmanin: French Mosque to Be Closed Over 'Unacceptable Preaching'
© AFP 2022 / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIERThis photograph taken on October 13, 2021 shows a note reading 'mosque closed for administrative reasons' at the entrance to a mosque in Allones, north-western France. - The mosque which has been accused of legitimising terrorism or calling for jihad, regularly hosts some 300 worshippers and has a Koranic school on its premises, will be closed, the prefecture of Sarthe announced on October 13, 2021.
Earlier in the week, the French interior minister said on Twitter that almost a hundred mosques in the country were suspected of separatism, adding that he had requested that all these places of worship be subject to checking.
France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has triggered a process to close a mosque where an imam allegedly targeted "Christians, homosexuals and Jews" in his sermons.
The French minister told the Cnews TV channel that the mosque he seeks to close is located in the town of Beauvais, which is some 75 kilometres north of Paris, in the Oise region. He also described the preaching by the imam there as "unacceptable".
Local authorities have reportedly already announced that they mulled closing the mosque because of the sermons promoting hatred and violence, and which even "defend jihad".
The local media outlet Courrier Picard quoted the association managing the mosque as saying that the imam's remarks were "taken out of context". According to the report, he is a recent convert to Islam and was suspended from his duties after the prefecture of Oise penned a letter announcing the plan to close the mosque.
Before any action is taken against the mosque, a 10-day period of investigation is legally required.
The incident comes as the Interior Ministry cracks down on 99 mosques with checks after suspecting them of separatism. Darmanin announced on 12 December that 36 mosques had been already checked, with the investigations finding that "the law was strictly observed there".
"These mosques, for example, have decided to part ways with an imam whom we consider dangerous or to end foreign funding", Darmanin explained, noting that the remaining mosques are still to be checked.
The interior minister underlined that "we obviously do not confuse the minority part of places of worship suspected of separatism with the vast majority of Muslims in France, which poses no problem".