Mohamed Tataï, the imam of the Empalot Mosque in Toulouse, France, was charged on Wednesday for inciting racial hatred following anti-Semitic statements made in Arabic during a preaching session in December 2017.
Last September, the prosecutor’s office in Toulouse opened a judicial investigation into the hatred speech of Mr. Tataï, a 55-year-old Algerian national presented as a “moderate” imam.
Two counts of indictment were retained: “public provocation to hatred or violence on the grounds of origin, ethnicity, nation, race or religion” and “public provocation by means of communication to the public by electronic means to hatred or violence on the grounds of origin, ethnicity, nation, race or religion”.
On June 23, the day after the inauguration of the mosque in the Empalot district of Toulouse, the Prefect of Haute-Garonne, Pascal Mailhos, alerted the public prosecutor’s office in Toulouse to facts “likely to constitute incitement to hatred”, through remarks broadcast on the Internet in a video. The poor quality video showed a preaching from late 2017 in a prayer room in the Empalot district of Toulouse. Mohamed Tatai is seen speaking in Arabic in clearly anti-Semitic terms.
“There’s a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him”
According to the Arabic to French translation, Mohamed Tatai reportedly said: “(The Prophet) told us about the final and decisive battle: the Last Judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews… Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees and the rocks and the rocks and the trees will say:” O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew who hides behind me, come and kill him”.
What the media avoided to mention is that what the moderate imam said is a direct quote from the Quran, because it would mean that the Quran itself is inciting hatred – a reality we all know to be true, but is taboo.
Faced with the controversy, Mohamed Tataï defended himself by denouncing “a crude montage” and remarks “out of context”. “In my preaching, I was not aiming at Judaism or the Jewish people,” he said in a La Dépêche interview.
Following these broadcasts, the Toulouse public prosecutor’s office commissioned sworn experts to translate these sermons.
It was at the end of the verifications “of the content and methods of its dissemination” that the head of the Toulouse Public Prosecutor’s Office decided to entrust the investigations to two investigating magistrates.
Mohamed Tataï was the subject of an open hearing in early September at the premises of the Toulouse Regional Judicial Police Service, which is in charge of the investigation.
The representative council of Jewish institutions in France (Crif) Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées had announced its intention to file a civil suit.
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