Pro-wife beating imam wins deportation appeal

23rd April 2004, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, April 23 (AFP) - A French court ruled Friday against a decision by the government to deport to Algeria a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who said that the Koran authorised men to beat their wives.

LYON, France, April 23 (AFP) - A French court ruled Friday against a decision by the government to deport to Algeria a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who said that the Koran authorised men to beat their wives.

Imam Abdelkader Bouziane officiated at a small mosque in a suburb of the eastern French city of Lyon and is a follower of the strict fundamentalist Salafist branch of Islam.

His expulsion on Wednesday followed uproar after a magazine published an interview in which he said that it was permissible for husbands to beat their wives on some parts of their bodies.

The decision by the court opens the way for Bouziane, who has two wives and 16 children, who are French, and has been in France since 1980, to return from his native Algeria but the government said it had other reasons justifying the decision to expel him.

The interior ministry has 15 days in which to file an appeal against the court's ruling, legal sources said.

The Interior Minister, Dominique de Villepin, on a visit to the Mediterranean island of Corsica, said he would be sending the court "additional elements of information which justify the expulsion of the imam."

The ministry's lawyer told the court in Lyon that Bouziane had "called for jihad (holy war) in France" against American interests at the time of the Iraq war, quoting a report by the country's internal intelligence services.

"France cannot accept on its territory declarations that are an attack on human dignity," de Villepin said.

© AFP

                                              Subject: French news

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