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France closes mosque over Imam’s radical preaching that incites Muslims against Christians, gays and Jews

France has ordered the closure of a mosque in the northern part of the country because of the radical nature of its imam’s preaching, which incites hatred, violence and “defend jihad.”

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Paris, will remain shut for six months, according to the prefecture of the Oise region where Beauvais is located.

The closure is coming two weeks after Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had triggered the procedure to close the site because the imam there “is targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews” in his sermons. This, the minister said, was “unacceptable”.

French paper, Courrier Picard reported this month that the mosque’s imam was a recent convert to Islam.

The paper quoted a lawyer for the association managing the mosque as saying that his remarks had been “taken out of context”, and said that the imam had been suspended from his duties following the prefecture’s letter.

The French government announced earlier this year that it would start checks in places of worship and associations suspected of spreading radical Islamic propaganda.

The interior ministry said this month that around 100 mosques and Muslim prayer halls out of France’s total number of more than 2,600 have been investigated over recent months because of suspicion that they were spreading “separatist” ideology

The development comes a year after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.

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