France orders six-month closure of mosque accused of 'promoting radical Islam' and ' inciting hate' against Israel
The mosque will be shuttered for a period of six months, according to the Turkish news agency.
Al-Farouk Mosque, located in Pessac, near the city of Bordeaux was accused by the Gironde department council of "spreading Salafist ideology", according to an official statement.
It also alleged that the Pessac Muslims Rally, the organisation which runs the mosque, conducted sermons urging worshippers not to conform with French laws and "justified terror attacks".
The mosque was also accused of "inciting hate" against Israel, and "voicing support for terror organisations".
Violations of the department’s order will result in a six-month prison sentence and a fine of 7,500 euros ($8,242), according to the statement.
The Pessac Muslims Rally denounced the Gironde department's decision in a statement published on its Facebook page, labelling it as "unfair" and a "collective punishment for Pessac's Muslims as Ramadan is approaching".
The organisation also accused the Gironde department of abuse of power and said it would appeal the decision at Bordeaux's Administrative Court later this week.
A lawyer for the Pessac Muslims Rally, Sefen Guez Guez said that the organisation had deleted any social media posts alluding to the prefecture's accusations "without hesitation", and replaced its social media page's managers.
"The Muslim community of Pessac feels that [the mosque closure] is a punishment for words that were uttered by third parties [anonymous Internet users] held a long time ago which have since been withdrawn," the lawyer added.
France, which is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, has increased its targeting of the religious minority, by raiding and closing down mosques and Islamic associations, as well as implementing a controversial "anti-separatism" bill.
The proposed law aims to counter "separatism" in French society but has been slammed by activists for unfairly discriminating against France’s Muslims, which number at 3.35 million.