Abdelkader Yahia Cherif
Is France going to crack down on radical Islam?
BREST, France, April 16 (AFP) – France has deported an Algerian Muslim cleric seeking asylum in the country who was accused of trying to convert young people to a radical form of Islam, police said.
A police statement late Thursday said Abdelkader Yahia Cherif “has just left on a regular ferry for Algiers,” under a deportation order issued April 5.
The cleric, imam in the northwestwestern city of Brest, was arrested as he left a police station in nearby Quimper after renewing his request for asylum in France. He was transferred this week to a detention center in the southern city of Marseille, from where he was deported.
The ministry said Cherif’s message to young people contained “strong anti-Semitic connotations and the maintenance of active relations with the national or international Islamic movement linked with organisations advocating terrorist acts.”
It also accused him of “a call to violence and hatred against people simply because of their origin or their religion.”
His lawyer David Rajjou has said Cherif denies all the accusations and said “his life would be in danger” if he were sent back to Algeria.
A Rennes court on Thursday turned down his lawyer’s bid to have the deportation ordered withdrawn.