“Where the faithful will go to pray ?”: the town hall of Bagnols-sur-Cèze wants to break the lease that binds it to the mosque of the expelled imam

“Where the faithful will go to pray ?”: the town hall of Bagnols-sur-Cèze wants to break the lease that binds it to the mosque of the expelled imam

La Mosquée du Mont-Cotton à Bagnols-sur-Cèze. MI – MiKAEL ANISSET

The municipal council meets this Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m., multicultural room in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, to decide for or against the termination of the long lease which binds the town hall to the mosque where imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi, expelled from France, officiated. The association of Muslims of Rhone Gard calls on the mayor about their situation.

The imam gone, life continues at the At-Tawaba mosque in Bagnols-sur-Cèze. During this Ramadan period, the place of worship is full. But contrary to appearances, the community of believers remains very marked by the express expulsion of their imam Mahjoub Mahjoubi. Since February 22, the preacher from Mont-Cotton has been in Tunisia after having been the subject of an expulsion order for having made comments deemed hostile to France.

Termination confirmed

In Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Mayor Jean-Yves Chapelet will propose, this Tuesday, April 2, to the municipal council to terminate the long administrative lease which links the town hall to the mosque. Rachid Alloul and Malik Saïfi, members of the Rhone Gard Muslims Association, wonder: "Where is the faithful will go to pray ? In the cellars ?". "Qu& rsquo;what will happen to the current building of the mosque, which historically welcomes the entire Algerian Muslim community ? What will become of this place ?" "What is its future knowing that this mosque had been made available with a long lease so that the Bagnolais of Muslim faith had a decent place to pray ?"& nbsp;The audience will be attentive to the answers that the mayor will provide this Tuesday evening.

"Serious failings"

Between the town hall of Bagnols-sur-Cèze and the association of Muslims of Gard Rhone (AMGR), relations are no longer good. Jean-Yves Chapelet believes that the mission entrusted to the AMGR by the administrative long-term lease of September 14, 2022 "has been the subject of serious repeated breaches.

Discarded from the association

The expulsion of the imam and the revelation of his remarks, particularly hostile to the tricolor flag, earned him his exclusion from the association. ;from February 24, 2024. That day, an extraordinary general meeting recorded the exclusion of Mahjoub Mahjoubi from the vice-presidency. nbsp;the association’s lawyer, the AMGR has not shown any sign of complacency towards the former imam. The association acted quickly to put an end to the preaching.

AMGR office member, Rachid Alloul hammers it out :" We don't want everyone to be punished because of a single person. The ex-imam submitted his resignation letter on the first day."

Common ground

The association's office also indicates that the words of the former imam are his own responsibility. "He was removed from French territory. We don't want an entire community to pay for what this preacher said. We trust justice."

Rachid Alloul and Malik Saï send their message to the mayor of Bagnols-sur-Cèze: "We know that the mayor&nbsp was overwhelmed and destroyed from all sides but this is not a reason to terminate the contract between the town hall and the mosque. It's better to find common ground. There's no point in dividing us and shooting at us.

The association pleads for an amicable solution. "In the opposite case we will take the matter to court administrative" declares Rachid Alloul. Contacted, the mayor did not wish to speak before the municipal council.

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