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“I’m falling from the clouds”: in the Sarthe, amazement after the announcement of the closure of a radical mosque



It is 8:30 am on Tuesday October 12 when Gilles Leproust’s telephone bell rings. “Administrative search at the mosque,” the prefect told me. I fell from the clouds, I had not had any information before that “, relates the PCF mayor of Allonnes (Sarthe), whose third term began last year.

→ CONTEXT. Sermons deemed discriminatory in the sights of the state

In the mosque installed for ten years in the Yvon-Luby room, named after the previous Communist mayor, the Sarthe prefecture describes sermons that “Legitimize the use of armed jihad, martyrdom, the commission of acts of terrorism and the use of violence, hatred and discrimination as well as the establishment of Sharia law”. The place, she said, “Also houses a Koranic school welcoming 110 children in front of whom the jihad was valued armed and which therefore constitutes a place of indoctrination ”.

Contradiction phase

On Wednesday October 13, a procedure for closing the place of worship, which accommodates 300 faithful, is initiated at the request of the Minister of the Interior, believing that the mosque incites terrorism. This was already one of the targets the minister spoke of in an interview with Le Figaro in September. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal described on Wednesday “The seriousness and solidity of the case” and recalled that around ten places of worship have already been closed.

But for the time being, neither the town hall, nor the prefecture or Place Beauvau dares to comment on the substance. “We are only at the contradictory phase”, indicates the entourage of Gerald Darmanin. A final decision is expected Wednesday, October 20.

Two associations, in the viewfinder of services, saw their assets frozen. They are the managers of the mosque: the Allonnaise association for the happy medium (AAJM) and the Al Qalam association. The first is chaired by Karim D., municipal employee of Allonnes in the Youth Department. Contacted, he declined to comment.

The AAJM association had come to meet the Catholic faithful during a mass on November 1, 2020, two days after the attack on the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice, the newspaper reported.West France at the time. Karim D. took the floor to express the solidarity of the Muslim community towards Catholics.

Searches in 2015

“We’re all a little stunned by what’s going on, explains the president of the municipal opposition group (without label) Gaëtan Cordelet. The people in charge of the mosque are perfectly integrated and carry republican values, so, if the facts were confirmed, I would be surprised. We hope that the investigation will go to the end, and make it possible to determine whether there were any breaches. If children have undergone fundamentalist sermons, they must be identified and taken care of. “

LR president of the Pays de la Loire region, Christelle Morancais, was delighted on Twitter about the state’s decision, “But closing a place is not everything, far from it: preachers of hatred must be identified, condemned and, if necessary, expelled”.

In this small town of 11,000 inhabitants surrounded by fields, which became a dormitory in the 1960s due to its proximity to the Renault factory in Le Mans, we have already heard of radical Islam. It was in 2015, a few days after the November 13 attacks. Several administrative searches for suspicion of radicalization had taken place in the city. The former wife of an imam was placed under house arrest before the administrative court suspended the decision a few months later. “Several people had been searched, but it was a balloon that deflated, we had no feedback on the reasons for these searches”, assures Gilles Leproust.

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