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France suspends decision to deport imam to Morocco

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 28: French President Emmanuel Macron awaits arrival of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (not seen) at presidential Elysee Palace in Paris France on July 28, 2022. ( Mustafa Yalçın - Anadolu Agency )

The French judiciary on Friday suspended the decision to deport Imam Hassan Iquioussen to Morocco, noting that the deportation would be a "disproportionate attack" on his private life and family.

Immediately after the court's decision, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that he would file an appeal with the Conseil d'Etat, the highest administrative court.

The interior minister had originally issued the deportation order against the imam, who is French-born but a Moroccan national. He was accused of making anti-Semitic, homophobic and "anti-women" remarks during speeches and conferences, some of which took place20 years ago.

READ: France says Morocco willing to receive deported extremist preacher

In its ruling, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the Paris Administrative Court considered that: "Just the reason for the existence of acts of explicit and deliberate incitement to discriminate against women cannot justify expulsion without seriously and disproportionately affecting his right to live a private and ordinary family life."

The court noted that the 57-year-old imam was:"Born in France, where he has lived since birth with his wife, five French children and 15 French grandchildren."

Iquioussen's lawyer Lucie Simon said that the court managed to"keep a cool head despite the media coverage of this case." Simon rejected the statements and said that legally speaking, although they are unfortunate statements, they are not considered an explicit provocation of hatred.

READ: UN condemns France's violation of Muslim headscarf rights

Soufiane, one of Iquioussen's sons, shared that he and his family are happy with the ruling.

The Islamic preacher is very active on social media and has a YouTube channel followed by 169,000 people and a Facebook page with 42,000 subscribers.

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