Paris mosque to remain closed amid claims it became a ‘breeding ground for ISIS jihadists’
This is the second time in less than three months that the mosque’s leaders attempt to reopen the prayer hall; and the second time that their plea is dismissed.
The Al Rawda mosque, a prayer hall located in Stains, an impoverished and multi-ethnic suburb north of Paris, was shut down by former interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve in November following a crackdown on religious extremists.
The mosque is to remain closed until the end of the state of emergency in July
Mr Cazeneuve, who has since been appointed as France’s prime minister, said in November that the mosque has been closed because its imam “openly defended terrorism and promoted an ideology of hate”.
The imam was immediately fired and replaced with a more soft-spoken preacher, and the mosque’s leaders – the owners of a local Franco-Egyptian cultural centre – launched an anti-radicalisation website to counter jihadist propaganda in a gesture of “good faith”.
The mosque has attracted more than 600 worshippers for Friday prayers since 2013
In its ruling, the supreme court added that there were “three” mosques in Stains, and that local Muslims would have no trouble finding an “alternative” place of worship.
More than 20 radical mosques and prayer halls have been closed since France declared a national state of emergency – which gives police greater search-and-arrest powers – in November 2015, less than 48 hours after 130 people were killed by ISIS terrorists in Paris.