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France shuts down Mosque for sermons 'defending jihad'

77 Naa

A mosque in the northern French area of Oise has been shut as a result of an imam's extreme messages, said to have "defended jihad".

The mosque in the town of Beauvais will stay shut for six months.

Jihadist fighters were apparently heralded as "heroes" during the sermons which is said to have incited hatred and violence. 

France has been surveilling mosques suspected of having connections to extremism. 

Fourteen days prior, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was beginning a cycle to close the Great Mosque of Beauvais, 100km (62 miles) north of Paris, in light of the fact that the imam was "targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews" in his sermons.

Authorities have given the mosque 10 days to respond.

The mosque's imam was a new convert to Islam. However, Interior Ministry though he was "presented as an occasional speaker, he actually acts as a regular imam", had defended "a rigorous practice of Islam" and "its superiority to the laws of the Republic".

An attorney for the affiliation dealing with the mosque told the paper his comments had been "taken out of context."

The legal counselor said that the imam, who was "speaking on a voluntary basis", had been suspended.

In any case, the inside service said the man, who was "introduced as an incidental speaker yet who, actually, goes about as a normal imam", had protected "a thorough act of Islam" and "its prevalence over the laws of the Republic".

Last year, Mr Darmanin declared a crackdown on mosques with extremist connections, saying some could be shut whenever viewed as empowering "separatism."

It was a reaction to the decapitation of instructor Samuel Paty and the lethal wounding of three individuals in a church in Nice in October 2020, by on Islamist extremists.

France's inside service said it had examined around 100 mosques and prayer halls over such radicalism lately, out of an aggregate of more than 2,620 in France.

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