Due to the radical nature of the imam’s preaching, France has ordered the closure of a mosque in the country’s northwestern region.
According to the prefecture of the Oise region, where Beauvais is located, the mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people, will remain closed for six months.
The sermons incited hatred, violence, and “defend jihad,” according to authorities.
This comes two weeks after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that the site would be closed because the imam there “was targeting Christians, homosexuals, and Jews” in his sermons.
This was “unacceptable,” according to the minister.
Local authorities were legally required to gather information for 10 days before taking action, according to the report, but the mosque would now be closed in two days.
The mosque’s Imam was a recent convert to Islam, according to a report from the local daily Courrier Picard last month.
According to Courrier Picard, a lawyer for the mosque’s managing association stated that the imam’s remarks had been “taken out of context,” and that the imam had been suspended from his duties as a result of the prefecture’s letter.
Earlier this year, the French government announced that it would increase inspections of places of worship and organizations suspected of spreading radical Islamic propaganda.
The crackdown followed the assassination of teacher Samuel Paty in October 2020, who was targeted as a result of an online campaign against him for showing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.
According to the interior ministry, around 100 mosques and Muslim prayer halls out of a total of more than 2,600 in France have been investigated in recent months on suspicion of spreading “separatist” ideology.
It said six sites were being investigated with the goal of shutting them down in accordance with French laws against extremism and Islamist separatism.