France says it deported 40 imams since 2012 for 'preaching hatred'

Several mosques being investigated for inciting terrorism and if found to be doing so, "will be shut down"

Afp June 29, 2015
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS: Days after a gruesome attack at a gas factory, France said it had deported 40 foreign imams for "preaching hatred" over the past three years, a quarter of them in the last six months.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday vowed to clamp down on mosques and preachers inciting hatred. Any "foreign preacher of hate will be deported," said Cazeneuve, adding that several mosques were being investigated for inciting terrorism and if found to be doing so, "will be shut down".

Read: One beheaded, several hurt in France terror attack

"We have deported 40 preachers of hatred since 2012. Since the beginning of the year we have examined 22 cases, and around 10 imams and preachers of hatred have been expelled," said Cazeneuve.

The attack last week had the hallmarks of a militant act but is also believed to have personal motivations, was the second in six months in France which is battling to curb radicalisation that has seen hundreds of citizens leave to join militant groups in Iraq and Syria.

Read: France attack suspect sent 'selfie' with victim's severed head

Yassin Salhi, 35, on Sunday confessed during interrogation to killing his boss and pinning his head to a fence of the Air Products factory near the eastern city of Lyon. The severed head was discovered flanked by two IS flags and it later emerged he had sent a selfie of himself with the head to a number believed to belong to a French militant currently in Syria.

Read: France tightens bonds with Saudis despite rights record

While Salhi was known to security services for links to radicals in France, and his crime bore the hallmarks of a terrorist act, sources close to the investigation have suggested a personal dimension after a dispute with his employer two days earlier.

"There is no doubt of the personal motivations but there is a symbolism taken from the most atrocious, abject images of terrorism," said Cazeneuve.


unbelievable | 8 years ago | Reply Deporting the Imam isn't enough. He should be placed on a "do not fly list" and his name should be circulated to the World intelligence agencies as a extremist. Also - consider closing the down Mosque where he was preaching - that should send a message to other Mosques that there are consequences for allowing extremist to spread hatred.
Stranger | 8 years ago | Reply Terrorism is like split ends . Cut the split ends and the hair will grow longer . Instead of deporting or killing these priests or mullahs , stay connected to them. let them come out in the open and preach . That way we will know if they are surely to be blamed totally or are there any other factors too fuelling our youth ?
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