Antisemitic Moroccan Imam on Run From French Authorities Following Deportation Order
A Moroccan imam was on the run from the French authorities on Wednesday after being subjected to a court order expelling him from the country for antisemitic and misogynist incitement.
A decision on Tuesday of the Council of State, the highest court in France, ordered the expulsion of Hassan Iquioussen, 58, an imam based in the northern town of Valenciennes who reaches an audience of thousands globally through his YouTube and Facebook accounts. The French interior ministry had ordered the deportation of Iquioussen, who holds Moroccan citizenship, in July, citing his “especially virulent antisemitic speech” as well as his sermons advocating the “submission” of women to men.
France’s Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, hailed the court’s verdict as a “great victory for the republic,” confirming that the imam would be “expelled from the national territory.”
However, police who arrived at Iquioussen’s home in Valenciennes to carry out the deportation order on Tuesday night discovered that the imam had already fled. According to the AFP news agency. Iquioussen, who is now officially classified as a fugitive from justice, may have escaped to neighboring Belgium.
Lawyers for the imam did not dispute their client’s record of antisemitic remarks, but had pleaded that deportation would have resulted in “disproportionate harm to his private life.”
“Yes, Mr Iquioussen is a conservative,” his legal representative, Lucie Simon, told French media outlets. “He has made retrograde statements on women’s place in society. But that does not constitute a serious threat to public order.”
The Interior Ministry responded that Iquioussen’s sermons “create fertile ground for separatism and even terrorism,” and that that he “remains an antisemite.” The imam “has for years spread insidious ideas that are nothing less than incitement to hatred, to discrimination and to violence,” the ministry stated.
In various sermons, Iquioussen denounced Jews as “stingy and usurious,” accusing them of avoiding “others they consider slaves.” He has accused Jews of having “continued to plot against Islam and Muslims.”
One sermon seemingly justified domestic violence if a wife failed to promptly feed her husband and family.
“My sister, Allah created you to work, to support and assume your responsibilities to your family,” he said. “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.”