A controversial Islamic conference set to be held in the southeastern French town of Echirolles near Grenoble has been called off under the orders of municipal authorities, citing extremist links of planned speakers. As The European Conservative previously reported, the event was originally planned near the city of Avignon in November of last year before being cancelled due to security concerns and a public outcry around the Islamist links of organisers and statements by the two scheduled speakers.
The mayor of Echirolles Renzo Sulli issued the decree to ban the gathering Saturday, describing both the speakers and organisers as having established links to both Salafist movements and the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, the mayor voiced concerns over the risk of violence and substantial risk to public order. The event was set to occur at an undisclosed location to be revealed only on the day due to fear of violence or cancellation.
The originally planned conference drew negative attention due to the logo of the recently proscribed Salafist organisation Barakacity being featured on posters advertising the event.
With 600 expected attendees, the event was to be headlined by two scholars with large online followings, Imam Ismail and Nader Abu Anas. Ismail in particular, an imam in a Marseilles mosque, has drawn negative attention for statements supposedly justifying jihad and the primacy of Islamic over French law. Those opposing the conference also cited Nader Abu Anas’s comments endorsing marital rape.
The ban comes in the wake of a vocal de-platforming effort that brought together both local officials from Rassemblement National and Eric Zemmour’s Reconquête party. In addition, the campaign to cancel the event was spearheaded by members of the right-wing student group UNI alongside Rassemblement National deputy Alexis Jolly.
Speaking with The European Conservative, activist and self-described ‘whistle blower’ with the Reconquête party, Damien Rieu, who has been militant in his opposition to the event, outlined his motivations for opposing the conference:
This unabashed Islamic discourse may be acceptable in Saudi Arabia or Qatar but not in France or Europe, where women’s freedom is non-negotiable. The organisers are close to the Muslim brothers and Salafist groups whose danger is no longer to be proven.
The organisers of the event, D’Clic Valence, did not respond to media requests for comment or issue any statement regarding the banning of the conference but has previously condemned ‘political opportunists’ from the far right for their efforts to stop previously scheduled events. It is unknown whether or not organisers will attempt to find a new venue for the event.