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France arrests radical Iraqi imam

May 11, 2004 • Wednesday May 12, 2004

An Iraqi Muslim cleric who preached at a mosque outside Paris has been detained for violating a house arrest order, French judicial sources say.

Yashar Ali was taken into custody on Monday in Argenteuil, north-west of the French capital.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

Mr Ali was placed under house arrest in March pending deportation, but police say he never respected the ruling.


France believes Mr Ali is a key figure in the Salafist movement, which has a strict interpretation of the Koran.

Last month, a court ruled that the Interior Ministry acted illegally by deporting another imam, Abdelkader Bouziane, to his native Algeria.

He had been quoted as justifying wife-beating.

The authorities are also considering whether to expel Midhat Guler, a Turkish director of a Paris mosque, accused of leading an extremist Islamic movement, AFP news agency reported.

Mr Guler has been placed under house arrest pending review of his expulsion order.

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