France Deports Radical Imam In 12 Hours

France deported a radical Muslim imam in 12 hours following the passage of a new immigration law. The news came as France has struggled with pressures from a growing Muslim population, including high-profile riots last year and a number of attacks following the start of the war between Israel and Hamas last October.

The decision to deport Tunisian-born Imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi was supported by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

The minister said that the government ordered a “ministerial expulsion order against this radical ‘imam’ who made unacceptable remarks and he was the subject of a home visit and an arrest.” He then said that the decision could not have happened without the new immigration law.

“Firmness is the rule,” said Darmanin.

Mahjoubi was accused of supporting terrorist and Islamist causes. According to the French government, the imam supported a “literal, retrograde, intolerant and violent conception of Islam.”

The imam allegedly called the French flag “satanic” with “no value to Allah.”

Despite the accusations, the imam said that his words were taken out of context. He allegedly said that he was discussing soccer during his comments and had a “slip of the tongue.” Mahjoubi called the new law “arbitrary” and argued that he was being made an example. Despite the order, the imam’s attorney plans to appeal the deportation.

Mahjoubi said after the deportation that he would “do everything to find my loved ones, to find my job, in the coming days or weeks.” He said that his “place is not here,” referring to Tunisia, “even if it is my country.”

He said that he had lived in France for 40 years, calling it a “country of human and citizen rights. I will do everything to assert my rights.”

France passed the new immigration bill last year with the assistance of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally Party.

While some portions of the law were deemed unconstitutional, the law would make several key changes. Immigrants could only receive government benefits if employed and immigrants without jobs would have to wait five years prior to receiving rent assistance. Those with jobs could receive aid after three months.