Wednesday, June 12, 2024

France Expels Islamist Imam Who Called for Jihad against Non-Muslims

NewsFrance Expels Islamist Imam Who Called for Jihad against Non-Muslims

The French authorities have deported a Tunisian imam who advocated for jihadi violence and sharia law and expressed hatred towards non-Muslims and the French Republic. The imam, Mahjoub Mahjoubi, who had been living in France for the past 40 years, was sent back to Tunisia on February 22, only 12 hours after his arrest. The ministerial deportation order declared the imam had encouraged “behavior contrary to the values of the French Republic”.

Justice confirms the expulsion of the ‘imam’ who clearly incites separatism and insulted our flag.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin

The expulsion of Mahjoubi is the latest in a series of expulsions of Islamist preachers from France. This reflects the country’s growing concerns following a series of Islamist murders of French citizens in recent years. Mahjoubi, a non-citizen of France, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin called for the withdrawal of Mahjoubi’s residence permit after the imam said in a sermon posted on social media that the French flag is “satanic” and has “no value with Allah.”

“Justice confirms the expulsion of the ‘imam’ who clearly incites separatism and insulted our flag,” Darmanin announced on X, formerly known as Twitter. “On my instructions, the services of the Ministry of the Interior will continue, thanks to our new laws, to fight effectively against all preachers of hatred.”

The deportation order states that Mahjoubi promoted sharia law, discrimination against women, hatred of non-Muslims, and jihadism in February sermons at the Bagnols-sur-Cèze Mosque in southern France. Mahjoubi, who had lived in France since the age of 12, reportedly declared in February that “We are going to have to shake up this society, this warlike and rotten society.”

In a January 2 sermon, Mahjoubi praised jihad, saying “mosques no longer produce fighters as in the time of the prophet [Mohammed].” According to the deportation order, the imam also declared that “Western society is decadent” and on several occasions promoted sharia as the only “legitimate and just law.”

While the deportation order was based on his sermons, his marital status may have added to the urgency behind his deportation. According to Le Figaro, Mahjoubi had contracted a religious union “with a [Tunisian] compatriot while he was not yet divorced from his previous wife, a French national.” Polygamy is a deportable offense under French law, the paper added.

A few hours after his arrival in Tunisia, the imam declared on February 22: “I will fight to return to France where I have lived for forty years. If the court does not do me justice, I will appeal, and then I will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.”

The Paris administrative court rejected the imam’s appeal in early March, with Le Figaro reporting that the magistrates’ decision regarding the imam is unequivocal. “His remarks do not fit within the framework of the values ​​of the French Republic, pit Muslims and non-Muslims against each other, incite hatred towards Jews and Israel or the defense of jihad and sharia,” said the Paris administrative court.

The judges ruled that the imam’s sermons develop “a discourse theorizing the submission of women to men,” opposed “the principles of the Republic by attacking the French flag and praising Sharia law” and designated Jews “as the historical enemies of Muslims who must be fought.” The administrative court also ruled that Mahjoubi “made comments inciting terrorism by advocating jihad.”

Officials from the Grand Mosque of Paris denounced Mahjoub Mahjoubi’s comments. (Photo by Gérard Ducher via Wikimedia Commons)

Mahjoubi will thus remain, for the time being, in Tunisia. His lawyer has announced that he will also appeal the ruling at the Council of State.

Mahjoubi’s problems may not end with his deportation. He is also the target of a preliminary criminal investigation opened by the Nîmes public prosecutor’s office on the basis that the imam advocated for terrorism.

Officials from the Grand Mosque of Paris condemned Mahjoubi’s incitement in a press release issued three days before his deportation. “As a place of worship and symbol of Islam in France, we reaffirm our unwavering attachment to the values ​​of fraternity, peace and living together,” the mosque declared.

In response, Imam Ismail, who resides in Bleuets, a neighborhood located in the northern districts of Marseille, issued a statement declaring that the Grand Mosque “does not represent any Muslim in France.” The Bleuets imam described the statement from the Grand Mosque of Paris as a “real masquerade” and “a shame for Muslims, still under the syndrome of colonization.”

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara. Her writings have appeared in The Washington Times, The American Conservative, The Christian Post, The Jerusalem Post, and Al-Ahram Weekly.

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