Belgian police arrest French-Moroccan imam fleeing deportation

French-Moroccan imam, Hassan Iquioussen, accused of hate speech and antisemitism, has been arrested by Belgian police after trying to avoid deportation back to Morocco.

Hassan Iquioussen had been taken into custody „without incident” late Friday in Tournai, near the French border, reports Radio France Internationale. The imam had been missing since the Council of State validated his expulsion from French national territory. He was also the subject of a European arrest warrant.

In July, the interior ministry ordered the deportation of Imam Hassan Iquioussen for allegedly having given „a speech filled with incitements of hatred and discrimination.” According to the ministry, he was also „promoting a vision of Islam contradicting the values of the Republic.” An administrative court in Paris suspended the deportation order against Iquioussen on August 5, but the Council of State validated his expulsion from the state.

According to the expulsion document, Iquioussen stands accused of „a proselytising speech interspersed with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carrying a vision of Islam contrary to the values ​​of Republic.”

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was „delighted” with Iquioussen’s arrest, adding that „evading expulsion from national territory is an offence.”

Iquioussen has built his reputation over the years on his YouTube channel, where he has no less than 178,000 subscribers (for 33 million views) following his courses and sermons on Islam in everyday life.