A mosque in the northern French region of Oise has been closed because of an imam’s radical sermons, said to have “defended jihad”.
Local authorities say the mosque in the town of Beauvais will remain shut for six months.
Oise’s prefect said sermons there called jihadist fighters “heroes” and incited hatred and violence.
France has been carrying out checks on Islamic places of worship suspected of having links to extremism.
Two weeks ago, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was starting a process to close the Great Mosque of Beauvais, 62 miles north of Paris, because the imam was “targeting Christians, homosexuals and Jews” in his sermons.
Authorities gave the mosque 10 days to respond.
The mosque’s imam was a recent convert to Islam, Agence France-Presse quoted local newspaper Courrier Picard as saying.
A lawyer for the association managing the mosque told the newspaper his remarks had been “taken out of context”.
The lawyer said that the imam, who was “speaking on a voluntary basis”, had been suspended from his duties.
But the interior ministry said the man, who was “presented as an occasional speaker but who, in reality, acts as a regular imam”, had defended “a rigorous practice of Islam” and “its superiority to the laws of the Republic”.