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France deports Islamic preacher

MARSEILLE: France on Friday deported an influential Islamic preacherĀ El Hadi Doudi whose mosque in the southern city of Marseille was shut down last year over accusations of hate speech.

The expulsion of Algeria-born El Hadi Doudi back to his home country came after his appeal with the European Court of Human Rights was rejected earlier this week.

Doudi, 63, had long been on the radar of Marseille police, who considered him an “authority” on Salafist interpretations of Islam.

Several members of Doudi’s mosque — one of Marseille’s largest before its closure in late 2017 — are suspected of having gone to fight alongside militants in Iraq and Syria in recent years.

The interior ministry based its decision to deport him on an analysis of 25 sermons obtained by intelligence services starting in January 2013.

His deportation comes shortly after that of Mohammed Tlaghi on March 28 to Morocco, following the closure of a mosque in Torcy, in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

The imam was also a high-school maths teacher.

His mosque came under surveillance after its imams urged support for members of the so-called “Cannes-Torcy cell” suspected of planning militant attacks.

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