PARIS: France’s highest administrative court on Wednesday rejected appeals against the dissolution of a Muslim NGO and the six-month shuttering of a mosque ordered by the government after the beheading of a teacher by an Islamist radical.

President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on radical Islamist activity in France following the October 16 murder of teacher Samuel Paty.

The Council of State ruled that the dissolution of the BarakaCity NGO as ordered by the government could be justified on account of comments “inciting discrimination, violence and hatred” by the group’s head, it said in a statement.

The government had ordered the dissolution of BarakaCity in late October, accusing it of links to “the radical Islamist movement” and “justifying terrorist acts”.

It said that the group had published violent and discriminatory comments on its own social media accounts and through that of its founder and leader Idriss Sihamedi.

But the group, which insists it has a strictly humanitarian mission to help millions of people around the world, denied the charges and appealed the decision.

In a separate ruling, the court also confirmed the closure for six months of the mosque in Pantin, to the north of Paris, following an appeal against the government’s ruling by the local Muslim association.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020

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