Government Seeks Expulsion of Turkish Head of Paris Mosque

May 2, 2004

Source: The Star

On May 2, 2004 The Star reported, "Police arrested the Turkish director of a Paris mosque accused of leading an extremist Islamic group that advocates terrorism, the Interior Ministry said Sunday, as authorities sought to expel him from France. Midhat Guler was being held at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport after being arrested late Saturday on an expulsion order from the Interior Ministry. Guler 'is the leader of a Turkish Islamic extremist movement in France that advocates resorting to violence and to terrorism,' the ministry said in a statement. It did not identify the Turkish group or give further details. The ministry said Guler had been the subject of an expulsion order since March 30. After his Saturday arrest, he applied for political asylum, a request that was under 'priority' consideration, the statement said. Guler was also described as president of the 'Islamic Association in France,' which runs a mosque in Paris' Bastille area in the 11th arrondissement, the ministry said. Guler lived in France for 28 years and was the mosque's director since 1984, his son, Abdurraham Guler, told France-2 television. 'Why 28 years later are they doing this?' he said, denying any wrongdoing on his father's part. 'There is no extremist movement.' The arrest came amid a growing crackdown on radical Muslim clerics and government pledges to deport those who preach fundamentalism."