Imam Iquioussen not found, imbroglio with Morocco

Police officers outside the home of Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen in Lourches, in the North, on August 30, 2022 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)

Untraceable in France, he could have fled to Belgium and Morocco is no longer ready to welcome him as he is: the day after his validation by the Council of State, the expulsion of the Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen complicated.

Implicated for remarks deemed contrary to the values ​​of the Republic, this preacher close to the Brotherhood movement was erected during the summer by the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin as an emblem of the fight against the “separatists” who spread “an atmospheric jihadism”.

The Council of State gave the green light on Tuesday to his expulsion, but two “home visits” carried out by the authorities in the wake of Lourches, a town near Valenciennes (North) where he resides, proved unsuccessful.

“The scenario that is favored today is a flight to Belgium by Mr. Iquioussen,” said the prefect of Hauts-de-France, Georges-François Leclerc, during a press conference on Wednesday.

The 58-year-old preacher, whose YouTube channel is followed by 178,000 subscribers, became a “delinquent” when “he evaded an expulsion order”, underlined the prefect, who seized the prosecution of Valenciennes.

At the start of the evening, on France 5, Mr. Darmanin argued that Mr. Iquioussen was “obviously in Belgium”. He added that he would give “information” about the preacher to his Belgian counterpart so that he could “not come to France”. “It will be forbidden to come to France. So much the better,” he said, without mentioning an action by France to have the Belgians search for him and hand him over to the French authorities.

– Morocco “pass” –

Moreover, according to Christine-Laura Kouassi, spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of Justice, “currently Mr. Iquioussen is not included in the database of the Belgian police as a wanted person”. “This gentleman is therefore not the subject of a Belgian judicial or administrative search notice,” she added.

On the other hand, if Mr. Iquioussen returned to France, Mr. Darmanin warned that he would be “arrested and placed in an administrative detention center”.

Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen (left) in Escaudain, in the North, June 18, 2004 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)

Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen (left) in Escaudain, in the North, June 18, 2004 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)

Gérald Darmanin announced on July 28 the expulsion of the preacher, who according to him is on file S (for state security) by the DGSI “for eighteen months”, before the Paris administrative court suspended this procedure, believing that it would cause a “disproportionate invasion” of his privacy.

A decision overturned on Tuesday by the Council of State, which considered that his “anti-Semitic speech”, “reiterated (…) after his apologies of 2004”, and his “systematic speech on the inferiority of women”, constituted “acts of provocation (…) to hatred”.

Born in France but of Moroccan nationality, Hassan Iquioussen has five children and 15 grandchildren, all French.

On August 1, Morocco had issued a “consular pass” to allow his expulsion by France. But on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter said that pass had been suspended.

– Home under surveillance –

This decision would be justified by the “unilateral” nature of the expulsion decision and the absence of “consultation” the day after the decision of the Council of State, according to this source.

“How can we recognize the nationality of one of its nationals one day and no longer recognize it the next day?”, We reacted in the entourage of Gérald Darmanin, pointing out that “this document has no other function than to formalize Morocco’s recognition of Mr. Iquioussen’s nationality”.

Police officers outside the home of Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen in Lourches, in the North, on August 30, 2022 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)

Police officers outside the home of Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen in Lourches, in the North, on August 30, 2022 (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)

Tuesday evening, one of the preacher’s sons told journalists in Lourches that his father was not present at this address and that he himself did not know where he was.

The prefect of Hauts-de-France defended himself on Wednesday from flaws in the surveillance of the home of Mr. Iquioussen.

He “was likely to be in several places” and “the surveillance of his home was proportionate to the powers of investigation which the police services enjoyed in an administrative framework”, insisted Mr. Leclerc.

According to Gérald Darmanin, Hassan Iquioussen had decided at his majority not to opt for French nationality. He claims to have given it up at the age of 17 under the influence of his father, and then to have tried in vain to recover it.

Imam Iquioussen not found, imbroglio with Morocco