France to deport Moroccan Imam over anti-Semitic speech

On August 26, a French court decided to deport an imam to Morocco.

Hassan Iquioussen, who was born in France but held Moroccan citizenship, is accused of anti-Semitic hate speech.

The Minister of the Interior of France, Gérald Darmanin, posted a tweet later that day which roughly translates to, "The Council of State validates the expulsion of Mr. Iquioussen who holds and propagates in particular anti-Semitic comments and contrary to equality between women and men. This is a great victory for the Republic. He will be expelled from the national territory."

Fifty-eight-year-old Iquioussen, infamous for his controversial anti-Semitic comments and misogyny, has a wide following of over 174,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 44,000 Facebook followers, which he operates from his home in northern France.

After the Paris Administrative Court suspended the expulsion of Hassan by order of the Interior Minister in late July, the case reached the supreme court of France.

Hassan’s lawyers strongly defended Hassan in the Paris court by saying that the expulsion would create "disproportionate harm" to his "private and family life."

A lawyer of the Interior Minister claimed to the Council of State that Iquioussen "has for years spread insidious ideas that are nothing less than an incitement to hatred, to discrimination, and to violence."

However, the imam's lawyers responded by saying that some of Hassan's anti-Semitic and misogynistic comments were at least 20 years old, elucidating that he has never been convicted for his actions in public.

Lawyer Lucie Simon said, "Yes, Mr. Iquioussen is a conservative. He has made retrograde statements on women's place in society, but that does not constitute a serious threat to public order."

In response, the Interior Ministry said that the imam's words raise the likelihood of more cases of separatism and even terrorism, insisting that Hassan remains an anti-Semite.

Darmanin warned that if the judges could not expel Iquioussen from France, he would try to change the law.

Iquioussen is the second imam expelled from France this year. In March, thirty-five-year-old Ahamada Mmadi and his family were deported back to his East African country of Coromos after being dismissed from his duties at the Saint-Chamond Grand Mosque last year at the behest of Interior Minister Darmanian.

Mmadi was accused of preaching sermons “contrary to the values of the Republic” after repeatedly reciting Hadith that were derogatory to women. 

Upon returning to his native land, Imam Mmadi told his local media, “I don’t regret anything. These are not my words; they are the words of the Prophet and of God. All I did was repeat what was in the holy books.”

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