A mosque in northern France has been ordered shut for six months for "inciting violence".
The prefecture of the Oise département said the large mosque in Beauvais was closed for "inciting hatred", "violence" and "apology of jihad".
France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced on December 14 that he had "set in motion" the procedure for the administrative closure of this mosque because of "unacceptable" preachings "against Christians, homosexuals and Jews".
The lawyer for the "Espoir et Fraternité" ("Hope and Fraternity") NGO, which runs the mosque, Samim Bolaky, told AFP that he had appealed to the administrative court in Amiens against this decision.
Bolaky said the authorities were targeting "certain remarks made during preaching by one of the mosque's imams — who has since been suspended — who was speaking on a voluntary basis". The "Espoir et Fraternité" association has "always fought terrorism, has always promoted living together."
But the interior ministry refutes that, saying the man "presented as an occasional speaker but who, in reality, acts as a regular imam", had made remarks that "glorify jihad and the fighters, whom he describes as heroes".
He is also said to have defended "a rigorist practice of Islam" and "its superiority to the laws of the Republic".
In addition, his remarks chastised "miscreants and present Western societies as Islamophobic", the ministry said. The remarks also urged "the faithful to break with the Republic", according to the authorities.