France closes mosque because of hate speech


Western Europe


The gate to the mosque is locked. Photo AFP, Francois Presti

French authorities have ordered the closure of a mosque in the north of the country because of preaching hatred.

The Islamic worship place in Beauvais, about 100 km north of Paris, will remain closed for six months after the authorities said some of its preaching incited hatred and justified the jihad (holy war), regional sources told French news agency AFP on Tuesday.

The decision to close the mosque was made two weeks after Interior minister Gerald Darmanen said he was initiating the closure process because the imam's preaching „target Christians, homosexuals and Jews." According to the minister, such an approach is „unacceptable."

The local government was required by law to start a 10-day information collection period after accusations of incitement and hate speech. AFP was informed on Tuesday that the mosque would be closed within two days.

Defending terrorism

The local daily Courrier Picard reported on Tuesday that the imam of the mosque in Beauvais only recently converted to Islam. The newspaper also stated that he is suspected of having defended terrorism in some of his sermons.

The newspaper quoted a lawyer for the association's management of the mosque as saying that the imam's comments had been „taken out of context." The lawyer added that the imam had been removed from office following a letter from the local authorities and will be suspended pending the investigation.



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