A French imam is to be prosecuted for racial hatred over a sermon he delivered in 2017 calling for Muslims to “fight the Jews.”
Algerian-born Mohamed Tatai was indicted at the end of 2018 for “public verbal provocation to hatred or violence” following an investigation into the sermon, which he gave at the En Nourr mosque in the Empalot district of the city of Toulouse in December 2017.
Tatai allegedly cited a hadith — a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad — that “on Judgment Day the Muslims will fight and kill the Jews.” Video of his remarks was obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which then posted Tatai’s sermon online.
Shimon Cohen — a lawyer for CRIF, the representative organization of the French Jewish community — confirmed on Tuesday that Tatai was being prosecuted for “inciting discrimination, hatred or violence […] because of the origin or membership of a specific ethnic group, nation, race or religion.” A date for the 57-year-old imam’s trial has not been set.
Lawyers for Tatai expressed confidence that the charges against him would not pass muster in court. In a statement, his legal team claimed that Tatai had “always been on good terms with the representatives of the Jewish community,” and that he had “largely explained the meaning of his preaching and the total exclusion of any incitement to hatred.”
Toulouse is remembered as the location of one of the worst atrocities committed against French Jews by violent Islamists. In March 2012, Mohamed Merah shot dead three young children and a teacher at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school during a 10-day terror spree.