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Morocco refuses to receive imam France is deporting

Flag of Morocco [Kristin Harvey/Flickr]
Flag of Morocco, 8 May 2019 [Kristin Harvey/Flickr]

Morocco has backtracked on its previous decision to accept Imam Hassan Iquioussen, who is being deported from France after being accused of inciting hatred.

Morocco rescinded its approval after agreeing to receive the imam within 60 days from 1 August.

Europe 1 radio reported that a source close to the French Minister of Interior, Gerald Darmanin, said: "It would be incomprehensible if this permit is abolished, which has no other function than to formalise Morocco's recognition of Hassan Iquioussen's nationality. How can there be a recognition of the nationality of a citizen one day, and then withdrawal of this recognition the next day?"

On Tuesday, the French Council of State approved the deportation of Iquioussen, who is of Moroccan descent. The Council of State, which is the highest administrative court in France, overturned a decision issued by the Administrative Court in Paris suspending the request to deport him to Morocco.

Darmanin described the court's decision as "a great victory for the republic".

READ: Morocco imam who faced deportation in France, goes missing

On 28 July, Darmanin took to Twitter to share a story published by the right-wing magazine La Pointe under the title "The Brotherhood's Imam is threatened with deportation", adding: "This preacher adopts hate speech against the values of France and contradicts the principles of secularism and equality between men and women, and he will be expelled from the French territories."

The Muslim community in France expressed its dissatisfaction and confirmed that Iquioussen is a religious guide who is loved and followed by the youth.

Human rights organisations considered the minister's decision to deport the imam without obtaining a court decision illegal.

Since France's decision on the deportation changed, Iquioussen has been said to be on the run, likely in Belgium. However, after Morocco's decision not to accept him, France will not be able to deport him even if he is arrested.

Iquioussen was born in France but he does not hold French citizenship. He refused to obtain citizenship in favour of keeping his Moroccan nationality.

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