French authorities shutter mosque after imam stirs hatred against Christians, Jews and gay community

Authorities have shuttered a mosque in northern France after they determined that the house of worship was “inciting hatred” against Christians, Jews, and gays, according to various reports.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin noted in an announcement earlier this month that his office was moving to shut down the mosque after its leaders were accused of featuring a regular speaker who was radicalizing its Muslim members and pushing them to commit acts of violence, according to EuroNews translations.

Darmanin went on to allege that the mosque figure was “presented as an occasional speaker but who, in reality, acts as a regular imam,” adding that the speaker allegedly told the congregation they should “glorify jihad and all the fighters, whom he describes as heroes.”

“The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 62 miles north of Paris, will remain shut for six months, according to the prefecture of the Oise region where Beauvais is located,” Agence France Presse reported. Officials were set to launch a 10-day inquiry into the mosque, whose imam is said to be Islam convert.

An attorney for Espoir et Fraternité (French for “Hope and Fraternity”), a nongovernmental organization that operates the mosque, told reporters that he planned to file a response with a court within 48 hours.

The NGO’s attorney pushed back on the preachings of the imam, who was not named but is at the center of Darmanin’s investigation, going on to dismiss “certain remarks made during preaching by one of the mosque’s imams – who has since been suspended – who was speaking on a voluntary basis.” He also said the sermon was being “taken out of context.”

The Interior Minister has led dozens of probes into allegedly radical mosques throughout France, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe (8.8 percent). Previously, Darmanin has stated that 99 mosques thus far have been cited for pushing violent or dangerous ideology.

“Of these 99 [mosques], 21 have been closed, and 6 are currently in the process of being closed,” Darmanin noted this month, according to EuroNews.

“We also found that 36 of these mosques had accepted the demands of the Republic – either to leave a particular federation, or to separate from the imam whom we considered dangerous, or to stop foreign funding, or unfortunately to combine these provisions – and so we removed them from the list,” he added.

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that Paris announced a crackdown on houses of worship as well as other organizations believed to be inciting violence through radical Islamic propaganda. Also this month, Darmanin said that his ministry had launched investigations into 100 mosques and Muslim prayer halls over the past few months out of around 2,600 across the country over concerns about “separatist” ideology being preached in them.

Jon Dougherty


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