Controversy after the suspension of an imam in the Loire

The faithful arrive for the start of Friday prayers at the Saint-Chamond mosque on July 23, 2021. CHARLY JURINE / PHOTOPQR / LE PROGRES / MAXPPP

The scenario unfolded in three days and three acts: a sermon, a tweet and a letter. Tuesday, July 20 in Saint-Chamond (Loire), for the feast of Eid, hundreds of believers gathered on an outdoor area, next to their mosque under construction. At the end of his sermon, Imam Mmadi Ahamada quoted an extract from sura 33 of the Koran: “Muslim women, try to obey the rights of Allah and those of your husbands, stay in your homes and do not show off in the manner of women before Islam. “

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The sermon was broadcast live on Facebook. Immediately, a city councilor National Rally of the city, Isabelle Surply, posted the excerpt in question on Twitter – with an error: she replaced “To rights” by ” on your finger ” – to denounce it. Thursday, July 22, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin asked by mail to the prefect of the Loire, Catherine Séguin, to convene the association which manages the mosque to summon it “To separate” of the Imam, and to instruct “The non-renewal of his residence permit”.

The same day at 4 pm, the prefect complied and summoned the interested parties. In the process, the imam was temporarily suspended from his functions by the mosque. The next day, on Twitter, Gérald Darmanin declared that he had been “Terminated the functions” of the imam and Isabelle Surply welcomed: ” Victoire ! Following my alert, the prefecture was seized by Darmamin to request the dismissal of the imam… ”

Thursday July 29, a week after the summons, however, there was neither dismissal nor dismissal. No decision was formally notified to either the imam or the mosque. And if this were to be the case, an obstacle would arise in front of the ministry: the difficulty of justifying such a dismissal from a legal point of view, knowing that the imam is salaried in CDI by the association which manages the mosque. And that the latter has already entered a law firm in Lyon.

Priests, pastors and rabbis might be worried

Until then, the sanctions taken against imams or mosques have been taken following remarks of incitement to hatred or support for terrorist actions. Never on the basis of reading extracts from the Koran. If the minister’s decision were to be confirmed, then priests, pastors and rabbis could be concerned. For example, a passage from the Bible says: “Wives, submit to your husbands” (Letter to the Ephesians, 5, 22-24). It would therefore become prohibited to quote it in public. Joined by The world in order to know which text of law legitimizes their action, neither the prefect of the Loire nor the Minister of the Interior replied.

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