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France orders deportation of five Islamist radicals

The French interior ministry expelled an Algerian Islamist and a Malian imam on Monday and is in the process of deporting three other suspected Islamist radicals as part of a government crackdown following last month's shootings in Toulouse.

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AFP - France has expelled two Islamic radicals and is planning to deport three more as part of a crackdown announced after a gunman killed seven people, officials said Monday.

An Algerian radical and a Malian imam were sent back to their home countries on Monday, while a Saudi imam, a Turkish imam and a Tunisian radical were also subject to expulsion orders, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that the imams had made anti-Semitic statements in their sermons, called for Muslims to reject Western values, and said women should wear the full-face veil.

It said the Saudi imam was currently out of France but would be refused entry should he try to return.

French police arrested 19 people in a crackdown on suspected Islamist networks in dawn raids on Friday as President Nicolas Sarkozy made the battle against extremism a keynote of his re-election campaign.

Some of the arrests were made in Toulouse, where extremist gunman Mohamed Merah was shot dead by police last month after a series of cold-blooded shootings that left seven dead, including three Jewish children.

Merah, branded a "monster" by French leaders after his killing spree, died in a hail of police bullets after a 32-hour siege on his Toulouse flat.

France last week banned four Muslim preachers from entering the country for a conference of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), citing their "calls for hatred and violence".

 

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