Italian officials expel Imam for hate speech

Italian officials moved to expel a Moroccan imam who was caught on a video inciting violence against Jews during Israel’s military offensive against Gaza.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said that he ordered Raoudi Aldelbar to be expelled “for seriously disturbing the peace, endangering national security and religious discrimination.”

He was filmed during a sermon in a mosque near Venice last month calling for the Jewish people to be killed “one by one,” according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“Oh Allah, count them one by one and kill them all,” the imam stated in the video.

After the video was aired in Italy by the Libero news channel, Alfano stated in reaction that: “Uttering anti-Semitic sermons that explicitly incite violence and sectarian hatred is unacceptable. May my decision in this case be a warning to all those who think you can preach hatred in Italy.” The government’s decision drew support across political parties and even from the Muslim community in the Veneto region.

“Islam is a religion of peace. Those who preach death must not be allowed inside the mosques,” said Bouchaib Tanji, who is the president of the Veneto Islamic Federation and the Assalam association, a Muslim association that promotes peace. “Even worse is that he calls on God to exterminate an entire population.”

Politicians from the anti-immigrant Northern League released a statement saying that they were “dangerous places” that pose a “serious problem to security and public order,” and called for greater control of mosques. Italy is also rife with anti-semitism in general due to Israel’s recent actions in Gaza.