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Tunisian Imam, resident of France for 38 yrs, deported after referring to French flag as ‘satanic’

France has expelled a Tunisian Muslim cleric for “radicalism” and “unacceptable remarks”, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a statement on Twitter.

“The radical Imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi has just been expelled from the national territory, less than 12 hours after his arrest. We will not let people get away with anything,” Darmanin said in a statement on X.

In an earlier statement, Darmanin said he had given instructions to issue a ministerial deportation order against “this radical ‘imam’ with unacceptable remarks”. “Firmness is the rule,” he added.

In a post that went viral on social media and was widely reported in French media, the imam referred to “the three-coloured flag” as “satanic”.

Mahjoubi, who preached in the Ettaouba mosque of Bagnols-sur-Ceze, southern France, has denied any wrongdoing. He told French media that his comments had been taken out of context and that he had not meant to disrespect the French flag. The French flag has three colours: blue, white and red.

His lawyer told French media he will appeal the expulsion procedure.

French media published excerpts of the expulsion order, which stated that Mahjoubi had “conveyed a literal, backward, intolerant, and violent conception of Islam, likely to encourage behaviors contrary to the values of the Republic, discrimination against women, identity retreat, tensions with the Jewish community, and jihadist radicalization’.”

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