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France Threatens to Expel Extremist Islamic Leaders

Worried by the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in France, the country’s interior minister has threatened to expel any foreign Muslim religious leader who disseminates extremist propaganda. Nicolas Sarkozy issued the warning after the unexpectedly strong showing of a Muslim fundamentalist party in weekend elections for a new council to represent France’s various Islamic factions. The Union of Islamic Organizations of France — inspired by Egypt’s banned fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood — won 19 of the council’s 58 seats. The moderate, Algerian-backed Mosque of Paris, which was considered a favorite, won just 15 seats. “We want to say very simply: imams who propagate views that run counter to French values will be expelled,” Sarkozy told Europe-1 radio on Tuesday. A majority of Muslim leaders in France are of foreign nationality, according to the Interior Ministry. Sarkozy, who was instrumental in creating the council, said he was determined to curb the influence of extremism on one of Europe’s largest Muslim communities. He said he would not allow the council to be used as a vehicle for spreading extremist views, notably sharia, or Islamic law. Full Story

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