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Imam of French mosque dismissed for Eid sermon

By News Report
July 26, 2021

PARIS: The imam of a French mosque has been dismissed for delivering a sermon on Eid ul Adha deemed “contrary to the values of the Republic”, Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.

Mmadi Ahamada, who is the imam of the Saint-Chamond Grand Mosque, located in France’s Loire region, was sacked on the directives of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. The grounds cited for his dismissal were that the Quranic verse from Surah Ahzab and hadith Ahamada shared were “contrary to the values of the Republic”.

According to the Turkish publication, Ahamada shared verses addressing the wives of the Prophet Muhammad in his sermon. A video of the sermon was shared online by Isabelle Surply, a member of the Municipal Council of the Republican Party, after which Darmanin asked the Loire Governor’s Office to “dismiss the imam and ensure that his residence permit is not renewed”, the report said.

Darmanin said that “he finds these statements unacceptable” and “sees them against gender equality”. Ahamada has contested that the verses have been misinterpreted.

Anadolu Agency quoted Amanda as telling the Le Progres website “some of the statements and verses in the sermon were taken and used out of context”. “Our girls do not have to stay at home, they become doctors, engineers or pilots,” the added. The mosque administration, meanwhile, announced that the imam has been dismissed, in a message on social media.

According to the report, “the Loire Governorate said that they are working on not renewing the imam’s residence permit”. Darmanin had announced on Friday that Ahamada, along with another imam, were dismissed at his request.

“On my request, 2 imams who gave unacceptable sermons in Hauts-de-Seine and Loire were dismissed. We will fight tirelessly against those who oppose the rules and values of the Republic,” he said on Twitter.

The Turkish publication cited the Le Figaro newspaper as saying that the Interior Ministry “has targeted the Roubaix Mosque”, which people claim has not allowed women since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawyer Sefen Guez, a human rights advocate, has criticised the minister for “targeting imams” and asking the governor to dismiss them. “The Saint-Chamond Mosque has confirmed what everyone knew: imams are appointed by governors in France,” he said on Twitter.

Media expert Sylvain Tirreau accused Darmanin of “hatred towards Islam”, Anadolu Agency reported. A petition campaign has been launched in France to support Mmadi Ahamada.