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Backward, intolerant: France deports radical Tunisian Imam for referring to French flag as “Satanic” and “of no value to Allah”

Interior Minister Darmanin tweeted, "The radical Imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi has just been expelled from the national territory, less than 12 hours after his arrest."

France recently expelled a Tunisian Muslim cleric after he was arrested over allegations of radicalism, and making unacceptable remarks about the French flag. Taking to X, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, on Thursday, announced the deportation of Tunisian cleric Mahjoub Mahjoubi, referring to him as a “Radical Imam”. 

Interior Minister Darmanin tweeted, “The radical Imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi has just been expelled from the national territory, less than 12 hours after his arrest. We will not let people get away with anything.”

Mahjoubi’s deportation came after he made a social media post where he referred to the French tricolour flag as “satanic” and of “no value to Allah“. Notably, the French flag has three colours – blue, white, and red.   

According to France 24, the 52-year-old Tunisian Imam was arrested on Thursday, and subsequently deported to Tunisia. He arrived in Tunisia shortly before midnight on a flight from Paris. Mahjoubi resided in France since the 1980s, and is a father of five. Although all his children hold French citizenship, Mahjoubi held a residency permit in France, which the French Interior Minister, Darmanin, has revoked. Until his deportation, Mahjoubri served at the Ettaouba mosque in Bagnols-sur-Ceze in the South of France. 

According to the French government, Mahjoubi’s ideology could potentially incite behaviours contrary to the Republic’s values. This includes discrimination against women, withdrawal into identity, tensions with the Jewish community, and encouragement of jihadist radicalisation.

The expulsion order stated that Mahjoubi had “conveyed a literal, backward, intolerant, and violent conception of Islam, likely to encourage behaviours contrary to the values of the Republic, discrimination against women, identity retreat, tensions with the Jewish community, and jihadist radicalisation”.

According to the deportation order, the Tunisian imam also referred to the Jewish people as the enemy, and called for the destruction of Western society.

Meanwhile, the Muslim cleric defended himself claiming it had been a “slip of the tongue”. He claimed that his statements were misconstrued and asserted that he never intended to disrespect the French flag, Reuters reported. Additionally, his lawyer announced that they would appeal the expulsion procedure and argue against the decision.

Nonetheless, the French government has adopted a stern policy against radicalism and toughened its immigration law to make France stronger. 

In another post on X on Thursday, French Interior Minister Darmanin stressed that the expulsion was a “demonstration” that a recently approved immigration law “makes France stronger”. He added, “Firmness is the rule.” 

Pertinent to note that with the rising popularity of right-wing leaders in France, there has been widespread demand to make tough migration laws and the government’s response is being seen in line with that. In the past, it has also taken action against practices/customs/activities that go against French values.

Earlier in January this year, France Foreign Minister Gerald Darmanin had announced that the country would stop foreign imams paid from abroad from entering France starting 1st January. The move was aimed at reducing foreign interference among the French Muslim community, to combat radicalism and separatist sentiments. Incidentally, a similar policy was also implemented by Germany. 

Last year in August, the country banned Islamic attire in Abaya in schools to implement a stricter dress code. Further, it has firmly dealt with cases of Islamist attacks in the country to protect its society from radical Islam.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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