The French government criticizes leftists who oppose the deportation of radical imam

The French government criticizes leftists who oppose the deportation of radical imam

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin lashed out at members of the far-left France Insoumise party, whom he accused of defending a radical Islamist imam who is to be deported from France.

Minister Darmanin, who announced the expulsion of radical Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen last week, accused members of France Insoumise (LFI) of defending the imam and trying to stop his deportation.

“This gentleman has nothing to do on national soil, and that they can defend him in the sense of the concept of free speech, tells me the state of intellectual decay that the LFI on the far left has at this point,” Darmanin told broadcaster CNews on Thursday.

Since announcing the deportation of the radical imam, members of the LFI in the French parliament have criticized Darmanin, including MP David Guiraud who stated: “These dubious procedures must challenge all democrats concerned with preserving our rule of law.”

Another LFI MP, Manuel Bompard, argued that while the imam has allegedly made anti-Semitic and homophobic speeches, he should be tried by a French court: “it cannot be up to the arbitrariness of the interior minister to decide what words are acceptable or not. “

Darmanin hit back at criticism from such MPs, stating that of the 2,600 mosques across France, only about 20 support Imam Iquioussen. He called don LFI to fire David Guiraud, arguing that his statements reflected on the rest of the party.

Since becoming Minister of the Interior in 2020, Darmanin has been outspoken on combating the spread of radical Islam, and has been involved in the closure of several radical mosques, notably following the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty by a radical Chechen refugee in October 2020.

More recently, Darmanin has turned his attention to the deportation of foreign criminals, arguing last month for a reform of deportation laws to allow French authorities to deport more foreign-born criminals who commit serious crimes.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)

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