Imam from Lyon deemed French security threat

7th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Sept 6 (AFP) - An alleged firebrand imam faces expulsion from France as a threat to national security after police arrested him in the central-eastern city of Lyon on Tuesday, a local official said.

LYON, France, Sept 6 (AFP) - An alleged firebrand imam faces expulsion from France as a threat to national security after police arrested him in the central-eastern city of Lyon on Tuesday, a local official said.

"Abdallah Cam, 42, was arrested in Villeurbanne, where he lives, during a routine check. The police officers perceived that he was the subject of an expulsion order dated August 26 and took him to a detention centre," said a Lyon police spokeswoman.

The Turkish cleric, who is being held at a centre at Lyon's Saint-Exupéry airport, is among a number of radical imams who have been singled out by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy for their "violent and extremist" preaching.

The order said the imam's expulsion was "an imperative necessity for the security of the state and the public", but did not outline what allegations Cam faced.

The regional president of the Council of Muslim Faith, Azzedine Gaçi, told AFP Cam had been an imam for 10 years at Villeurbanne.

"I don't know him personally. In any case, his papers were in order. He has lived here a long time. He has four children," said Gaçi, a member of the French Union of Islamic Organisations, which is considered close to the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

"I would like the reason for these repeated expulsions, which make Muslims very uneasy, to be explained to us," Gaçi said.

The French interior ministry says it has deported four radical Islamists accused of threatening national security since July 2004.

Last month, Khellaf Hamam, 38, who served a jail sentence for training young men for jihad (holy war) in Bosnia and Afghanistan, was sent back to Algeria.

A Turkish diplomat on Tuesday said the situation of French Muslims was not perfect, but nor was it particularly bad after investigating anti-Muslim discrimination in the country; France passed a law in 2004 outlawing the wearing of Islamic headscarves in schools.

"It can't be said the situation of Muslims in France is ideal from an economic, social and religious point of view. But it would not be correct to say that it is tragic," said Omur Orhun, an official from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article