Hate preacher goes on the run after deportation order granted in France

Interior Minister called for Moroccan imam's expulsion over his 'especially virulent anti-Semitic speech'


Police officers stand on a street where a house belonging to the family of Iman Hassan Iquioussen is located, in Lourches, northern France, on August 30, 2022. - The Conseil d'Etat (French Council of State) gave its green light on August 30, 2022 to the expulsion of the Iman Hassan Iquioussen decided by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP) (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

An antisemitic hate preacher is believed to have gone on the run after a deportation order was granted by a French judge sitting in the country’s highest administrative court.

Hassan Iquioussen, a 58-year-old Moroccan imam, is being hunted by the authorities in France following the order to expel him from the country for antisemitic and misogynist incitement.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin had called for his deportation over his "especially virulent anti-Semitic speech" and sermons calling for women's "submission" to men.

The order to deport him to Morocco was granted on Tuesday by the Council of State. Iquioussen has been based in the northern town of Valenciennes and has global audience of tens of thousands through his YouTube and Facebook accounts.

The case was escalated to the Council of State after Paris judges earlier blocked the imam’s deportation, having accepted his lawyers’ arguments that expulsion would create "disproportionate harm" to his "private and family life”.

The Council of State overturned the decision following interior ministry lawyers’ submissions that Iquioussen "has for years spread insidious ideas that are nothing less than incitement to hatred, to discrimination and to violence”, adding

"His proselytising speech is interspersed with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carries a vision of Islam contrary to the values of the Republic,”

The defendant's lawyer retorted that some of the remarks, including anti-Semitic or misogynistic speech, dated back more than 20 years, pointing out that he had never been prosecuted for his public statements.

"Yes, Mr Iquioussen is a conservative. He has made retrograde statements on women's place in society," the imam’s lawyer, Lucie Simon, said. "But that does not constitute a serious threat to public order."

But the interior ministry’s legal representative countered that the imam's words "create fertile ground for separatism and even terrorism," insisting that he "remains an antisemite".

French police believe Iquioussen, who was born in France but holds Moroccan citizenship, fled to Belgium after interior minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted he would "be expelled from the national territory" in "a great victory for the republic".

Mr Darmanin had warned he would try to change the law if judges found Iquioussen could not be deported.

When cops arrived at Iquioussen’s home in Valenciennes to carry out the deportation order on Tuesday evening, he was not there and is believed to have fled.

According to the AFP news agency, Iquioussen, who is now officially classified as a fugitive from justice, may have escaped to neighbouring Belgium.

In his sermons, Iquioussen reportedly denounced Jews as “stingy and usurious” and accused them of avoiding “others they consider slaves.” He has also reportedly accused Jews of having “continued to plot against Islam and Muslims.”

In one sermon, he appeared to justify domestic violence if a wife failed to promptly feed her husband and family, reportedly telling female followers: “My sister, Allah created you to work, to support and assume your responsibilities to your family. Wait, your kids are hungry, you’re not feeding them, and they will starve. Your husband’s hungry, you’re not feeding him - of course, it’s going to end in a fight.”

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