France Closes Mosque Over ‘Unacceptable’ Teaching

France ordered the closure of a mosque in the northern French region of Oise due to the radical nature of its imam’s sermons.

Local authorities told AFP News on Dec. 28 that the mosque in the town of Beauvais would be closed within two days and will remain shut for six months because its imam’s teachings incited hatred and violence.

The move came two weeks after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he began the process to close the site because the imam was “targeting Christians, homosexuals, and Jews” in his sermons, which was “unacceptable.”

According to an official document seen by AFP News, the imam was a regular presence at the mosque and had called jihadist fighters “heroes” who protected Islam against Western influence.

The imam also said that jihad was a “duty” and that non-Muslims were “enemies,” according to the document.

The interior ministry further said that the imam had defended “a rigorous practice of Islam” and “its superiority to the laws of the Republic,” BBC News reported.

The closure had “the aim of forestalling acts of terrorism being committed,” the document said.

Samim Bolaky, a lawyer for the association managing the mosque, said that he had filed for an injunction to overturn the closure.

Bolaky also said that there would be a court hearing within 48 hours.

France has been carrying out checks on Islamic places of worship and associations suspected of having links to extremism.

According to the interior ministry, around 100 mosques and Muslim prayers halls of over 2,600 have been investigated in recent months.

The move is a response to the October 2020 beheading of teacher Samuel Paty who showed controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class, as well as the fatal stabbing of three people in a cathedral in Nice.

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