France arrests radical Iraqiimam as crackdown goes on

11th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 11 (AFP) - An Iraqi imam with political refugee status who preached at a mosque outside Paris was arrested and placed under investigation for violating a house arrest order, court sources said Tuesday.

PARIS, May 11 (AFP) - An Iraqi imam with political refugee status who preached at a mosque outside Paris was arrested and placed under investigation for violating a house arrest order, court sources said Tuesday.

Yashar Ali, who French intelligence services believe to be a key figure in the Salafist movement, which preaches a strict interpretation of the Koran, was taken into custody on Monday in Argenteuil, northwest of the French capital.

In March, an administrative court had confirmed an order to expel Ali, placing him under house arrest until he could be deported, but the imam never respected the ruling to remain in his Argenteuil home, police said.

Ali's arrest came amid the centre-right government's campaign to deport radical imams, which has sparked concern among the five million Muslims in France, who fear that Paris is leading a witch hunt against their clerics.

Last month, the government suffered an embarrassing setback when a court ruled illegal the deportation of imam Abdelkader Bouziane to his native Algeria.

The interior ministry ordered his expulsion after the 52-year-old Bouziane, who lived in the southeastern city of Lyon, was quoted as justifying wife-beating. He has since applied for a visa to return to France.

French authorities are also mulling whether to expel Midhat Guler, a Turkish director of a Paris mosque accused of leading an extremist Islamic movement. He has been placed under house arrest pending review of the expulsion order.

©AFP

Subject: French news

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