France expelled an imam of Islam’s strict Salafi branch for giving radical sermons seen as a threat, sending him to Algeria a day after the European Court of Human Rights gave a green light for the move, a source close to the case said.
French media said the imam, not been identified by authorities, was accused of making radical lectures against women, Jews and Shi’ite Muslims, allegations he denied. He was based at a mosque in Marseilles.
The European Court of Human Rights initially asked France to suspend the expulsion, after the imam’s lawyer raised risks of torture, before saying additional information provided by French authorities convinced it not to block the expulsion.
France, targeted over the past three years by attacks claimed by Islamic State, in February announced steps including prison isolation zones and more stringent licensing rules for faith-based schools to combat what it calls a slow-burning threat from Islamist radicalisation.
The country has Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. The latter is estimated to number upwards of five million.
An Elabe poll last month showed 80% backed expulsion of radicalised foreigners, while more than half of the respondents said Macron was not doing enough to counter terrorism.