France shuts mosque over imam’s preaching

France has ordered the closure of a mosque in the north of the country because of the radical nature of its imam’s preaching, regional authorities tell AFP.

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 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.

It says the sermons there incite hatred, violence and “defend jihad.”

The move on the mosque, which has a congregation of about 400, comes 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.”

The authorities say the imam, who the association claims had preached only occasionally and had now been suspended, was in fact a regular presence at the mosque, according to the official document citing the reasons for the closure seen by AFP.

It says the imam had called the jihad, a term for war against the enemies of Islam, a “duty,” and had glorified its fighters as “heroes” who protected Islam against Western influence.

He had also labeled non-Muslims as “enemies,” it says.

“The terrorist threat remains at a very high level” and the closure had “the aim of forestalling acts of terrorism being committed,” the document says.

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