Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced last week the expulsion of this preacher practicing in France, reputed to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood and accused by the French authorities of calls for hatred and violence aimed in particular at the Jewish community.

At the hearing on Thursday, Mr. Iquioussen’s lawyer Me Lucie Simon asked the court to “protect fundamental freedoms” by suspending the expulsion order.

“I ask you to be wary of sentences cut and taken out of context”, argued the lawyer, rejecting both “the seriousness” and “the topicality” of the remarks targeted by the Ministry of the Interior, including the most recent date back to 2019 and the oldest to the 1990s.

“There is no urgency to deport Hassan Iquioussen,” said Mr. Simon. “You are not the judicial guarantee of the government’s announcement effects,” added the imam’s lawyer, referring to Gérald Darmanin’s announcements on Wednesday on his future immigration bill.

The League for Human Rights (LDH) intervened voluntarily in support of Me Simon’s request at the hearing.

“These old remarks have never given rise to a refusal of a residence permit or a criminal conviction”, noted Me Marion Ogier for the association, defending “the right to respect for private and family life”.

In a press release issued earlier today, the LDH, while disapproving of the imam’s remarks, argues that Mr. Iquioussen was born in France, “has always lived there and founded his family there”.

For her part, the representative of the Ministry of the Interior considered that Mr. Iquioussen’s remarks “constitute the breeding ground for terrorist actions”. “It’s the same rhetoric as (Mohammed) Merah,” she added, referring to the perpetrator of the 2012 Toulouse and Montauban attacks.

“The recurrence (of the remarks) pleads for the continuity of the threat”, estimated the representative of the Ministry of the Interior to justify the request for expulsion to Morocco.

Earlier in the day, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected a request to suspend the deportation of Mr. Iquioussen.