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France

Radical Muslim cleric deported from France talks to FRANCE24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-01-13

Watch FRANCE 24's exclusive interview with Ali Ibrahim el-Soudany, the radical Muslim cleric who was deported from France to Egypt on Thursday for religious extremism and inciting his followers to rise up against the West.

Ali Ibrahim el-Soudany, a Muslim preacher, was deported from France to Egypt last week for inciting followers in Paris area mosques to rise up against the West, according to government officials. FRANCE24 spoke exclusively to the iman, and he defended himself vehemently against the charges.

Al-Soudany told FRANCE24, “We have never opposed the West,”

However, Brice Hortefeux - France's interior minister for overseas territories - who  made the emergency expulsion order, branded Al-Soudany a "dangerous individual".

The French authorities claim his speeches, delivered at a mosque in the suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, were often laced with hate and incited violence non-Muslims.

The self-declared Imam said, “I lived in the West for several years. My wife was born in the West and I married her there! What's happened is not fair. It's already happened to other Imams and it's not fair. What right do they have to deprive a woman of her husband? What right to stop someone from speaking freely? I hope I'll go back and that justice will prevail.”

However, at the time of the deportation order, Hortefeux said the cleric “showed contempt for our society's values.” Furthermore, an official close to the case said that French security agencies had been tracking Sudani since 2008 and found his Jihadist teachings to be "quite hardline."

Al-Soudany's deportation comes at a sensitive time for international security after the failed Christmas bomb attack on a Detroit bound flight, and amid rising concern across Europe about radical Muslims inciting religious tension.

The Egyptian national was the 29th imam or Islamic preacher to have been deported from France since 2001, according to the interior ministry.

The Muslim preacher is currently waiting for a court ruling on his deportation, expected at the end of January.
 

Date created : 2010-01-12

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