A Muslim imam in France has been handed a six-month suspended sentence for an anti-Semitic rant that he delivered in a sermon that was uncovered and publicized by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
MEMRI monitors, translates, interprets and comments on media productions in the Middle East, and in 2018 found and exposed Toulouse imam Mohamed Tatai’s sermon.
The comments were found in Tatai’s Decemer 2017 sermon which was delivered at the En Nour mosque in Toulouse.
About the trial, France 3 explained, “Mohamed Tataiat [aka Mohamed Tatai], the imam of the Empalot mosque in Toulouse [France], appeared on Tuesday, June 29, before the criminal court for ‘incitement to racial hatred’ – in the wake of his December 2017 sermon [exposed by MEMRI]… This has to do with a sermon delivered by a Toulouse Muslim cleric.”
The explanation continued, “In a video, dated December 15, 2017, and revealed by the MEMRI website (acronym for Middle East Media Research Institute), the imam of the Great Mosque of Toulouse reportedly referred in Arabic to a hadith – a word from the prophet Mohammad – which reportedly calls on Muslims to kill Jews: ‘The Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees and the rocks and the trees will say: Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’… These images were denounced for their antisemitism in late June 2018.”
The video was revealed in June 2018, and at the end of that year the prefect of Haute-Garonne was in contact with the Toulouse public prosecutor’s office and officials there opened an investigation.
It was the French publication La Depeche that confirmed Tatai’s six-month suspended sentence.
His lawyers had claimed that he had “always been on good terms with representatives of the Jewish community [and] has largely explained the meaning of his preaching and the total exclusion of any incitement to hatred” in it.
They also accused those bringing the court case of being motivated by politics, charging “the opportunist nature of such a referral to the criminal court will not escape anyone in an eminently political context.”
MEMRI reported the sentence followed an indictment of Tatai for “provocation to hatred or violence.”
During his sermon, Tatai also claimed Israel would soon come to an end.
He said, at the time, “The Israeli prime minister… said that he was afraid that Israel would not live longer than 76 years – as is written in the prophecies of [the Jews]. Therefore, when their president died two years ago, and people came to pay their last respects, one of their well-known journalists said: ‘People did not come today to the funeral of Peres, but to the funeral of Israel.'”
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