For nearly three hours on Friday, the interim chamber of the Council of State heard the arguments of the representative of the Ministry of the Interior and the lawyer of the preacher threatened with expulsion to Morocco.

Hassan Iquioussen is “a charismatic preacher who has acquired legitimacy within a very large audience and who for years has been spreading insidious ideas which are no less provocations to hatred, discrimination, violence “, said the director of public freedoms and legal affairs at the Ministry of the Interior.

In the audience hall, archifull, many relatives of the imam including several representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood had taken place.

For Lucie Simon, the imam’s lawyer, the anti-Semitic or violently misogynistic remarks alleged against her client “were sometimes made more than twenty years ago”. “These provocations must be current, this is what results from case law”.

“He has never been prosecuted or convicted for these remarks,” insisted the lawyer.

The Ministry of the Interior published an expulsion order on July 28 targeting the imam because of “a proselytizing speech peppered with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carrying a contrary vision of Islam to the values ​​of the Republic”.

The ministry criticized the imam in particular for “a particularly virulent anti-Semitic speech” and his sermons advocating the “submission” of women “for the benefit of men”.

The expulsion order also evoked the encouragement “to separatism” and the “contempt for certain republican values ​​such as secularism and the democratic functioning of French society”.

Seized by Mr. Iquioussen’s lawyers, the Paris administrative court suspended this request for expulsion at the beginning of August, arguing that the expulsion of the imam, born in France 58 years ago but of Moroccan nationality, would carry “a disproportionate interference” with his “private and family life”.

– “Double speech” –

If the Council of State confirms the decision of the administrative court, Mr. Iquioussen cannot be expelled to Morocco.

If, on the contrary, the high administrative court reverses the decision of the administrative court, Mr. Iquioussen will be expelled even if the case will only be pleaded on the merits before the Council of State within a few months.

In an interview published by the Sunday newspaper, Gérald Darmanin, “disappointed” by the decision of the administrative court, has already warned that if the law “does not allow” to expel Mr. Iquioussen, it will have to be changed. “to further defend the French”.

“Yes, Mr. Iquioussen is conservative. He had retrograde remarks on the place of women,” conceded Me Simon. “But this does not constitute a serious threat to public order,” she stressed.

The representative of the Ministry of the Interior for her part denounced the “double discourse” of the imam.

“We are told that Hassan Iquioussen apologized for his disputed remarks as if it crossed out the remarks. It’s a bit easy,” she said. The imam’s contested words “constitute the breeding ground for separatism and even terrorism. Hassan Iquioussen remains anti-Semitic, this is the heart of his approach,” she said.

For his part, Me Simon considered that the expulsion order essentially responds to “a political agenda of Mr. Darmanin”.

“It is said that this man (Hassan Iquioussen) threatens public order through his videos posted on the internet. Is deporting him really the solution to safeguard public order?” interrogates.