France’s highest administrative court on Tuesday gave the green light to the deportation to Morocco of an imam accused of hate speech, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.
Hassan Iquioussen “will be expelled from national territory” in “a major victory for the republic,” the minister wrote on Twitter, citing a decision by the Council of State.
The case came before the highest court after Paris judges blocked the expulsion of the imam, whom the interior ministry ordered in late July for “particularly virulent anti-Semitic statements” and sermons calling for the “submission” of women to men.
Iquiousen, 58, reaches tens of thousands of subscribers via YouTube and Facebook accounts from his home in northern France.
He was born in France, but has Moroccan nationality.
His lawyers successfully applied to the Paris court for a blocking of the injunction, saying it would cause “disproportionate damage” to his “private and family life”.
An interior ministry lawyer last week told the Council of State Iquiousen “has spent years spreading insidious ideas that are nothing less than incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence”.
But the pastor’s lawyer replied that some of the comments, including anti-Semitic or misogynistic statements, were over 20 years old, pointing out that he had never been prosecuted for his public statements.
“Yes, Mr. Iquioussen is a conservative. He has made retrograde statements about the place of women in society,” said Lucie Simon.
“But that does not pose a serious threat to public order.”
The representative of the Interior Ministry replied that the imam’s words “provide fertile ground for separatism and even terrorism”, stressing that he “remains an anti-Semite”.
Darmanin had warned that he would try to change the law if judges found Iquioussen could not be deported.