PARIS - France deported five Muslims, including three imams, on Monday, April 2, in the latest crackdown on people accused of preaching hatred in the European country.
"We do not accept Islamic extremism, Interior Minister Claude Gueant told BFM TV.
Gueant said two people had already been deported on Monday as part of laws aimed at protecting France and ensuring public security.Scapegoated French Muslims
He said in a statement cited by Reuters that an Islamist of Algerian origin, who was involved in 1994 attacks in Marrakech, Morocco, was expelled for ties with radical movements.
A preacher of Malian origin was deported for promoting anti-Semitism, advocating the full-face veil and rejecting the West.
Imams from Saudi Arabia and Turkey are also due to be deported to their homelands.
The ministry said a Tunisian militant, are also expected to be expelled.
The statement said that other expulsion would take place soon.
This is not a new policy ... but after what happened in Toulouse and Montauban we have to be more vigilant than ever, said Gueant.
The deportations came after French police arrested 19 Islamists on suspicion of radical activity.
It followed the killing of seven people, including three Muslim soldiers and three Jewish children, by an Al-Qaeda-inspired gunman in the southern city of Toulouse.
Last week, France banned four Muslim scholars from entering the country to attend a major Islamic conference on claims of preaching radical views.
France is home to six million Muslims, the largest minority in Europe.
The deportations are seen as the latest show of strength by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
They said unacceptable things, things that are contrary to the values of the republic, Sarkozy said on Canal-Plus television.
We have sent them back to where they came from. That will be the rule now. There will be no exceptions.
The tough line taken by Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election in the April-May vote, sine the Toulouse killings has boosted his approval ratings.
Polls show that more than 70 percent of voters approved of Sarkozy's handling of the Toulouse incident, reducing frontrunner Francois Hollande to the role of bystander before the two-round election on April 22 and May 6.
Sarkozy's ratings have inched up.
He now stands 1-2 points ahead of Hollande in some polls for the first round but remains 8 points behind his rival in surveys for the run-off.
Sarkozy was a tough interior minister for most of the five years before he was elected president in 2007 and was best known for earthy promises to clean away "yobs" with a power-hose.But his record in reducing violent crime is a matter of dispute, with statistics inconclusive, but his outspoken determination reassures many voters who see the left as soft on crime.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net