Hassan Iquioussen, a Franco-Moroccan fundamentalist Islamic preacher, is believed to have fled to Belgium from France. The imam is currently accused of incitement to hatred and anti-Semitism by French authorities in northern France, according to Belgian media RTL Info.
French authorities, who are not sure of the imam’s exact whereabouts, believe that the fugitive is currently in Belgium. The imam lives close to Belgium, in Valenciennes, and has a support network of friends and supporters in Belgium, notably the imam of Verviers, who has previously publicly supported Iquioussen on his Facebook page.
According to the Verviers imam, Iquioussen is a “pioneer” who helped establish the use of French in mosques, stating that he did not understand France’s decision to prosecute him.
Some, such as the Imam of Verviers, state that Iquioussen is in fact moderate in his beliefs. The French Council of State, on the other hand, condemned the preacher for anti-Semitic and misogynistic remarks.
- Belgian jihadism: A thing of the past?
- Around 20 'serious' terrorism threats last year, right-wing extremism continues to rise
Iquioussen is rumoured to be close to the Sunni Islamism Muslim Brotherhood group, which focuses on fundamentalist interpretations of Sharia law, but also promotes religious charity. The Muslim Brotherhood is considered a terrorist organisation in several Arab nations.
France has now included the preacher on its “Fiche S”, a list of persons of interest who are considered to be of high risk to national security and the “fundamental interests” of the nation.
These individuals are naturally subject to the highest level of state surveillance. He is now considered as a fugitive by the Hauts-de-France province as he fled authorities before he could be deported to Morocco.