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The manager of a suspected radical mosque, along with three others, was arrested this week in northern France over allegations of fraud and embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of euros of foreign cash.

The manager of the Al Houda mosque in Grande-Synthe, 49-year-old Ouarab A., two of his two sisters and the treasurer of the mosque were taken into custody on Wednesday by local police in an operation of the departmental anti-fraud committee.

Ouarab allegedly tried to grab the weapon of an officer during his arrest,

According to investigators, at least €350,000 (£297,738/$363,181) in foreign cash is thought to have been embezzled by the mosque, which is said to follow the ultra-conservative Islamic ideology of Salafism, French broadcaster CNews reports.

The four arrestees are also believed to have committed social benefit fraud in the amount of around €70,000 (£59,569/$72,649), according to investigators, who allege that the fraudulent transfers were made through associations run by the mosque manager’s sisters, who are aged 46 and 47.

The Al Houda mosque, which is also home to an unauthorized Qu’ranic school, is said to have been purchased using the embezzled funds.

Berlin Police Raid More Islamists Accused of Coronavirus Help Fund Fraud https://t.co/P7OKPDHZhA

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 24, 2020

The case is just the latest to see radical Muslims accused of fraud and financial crimes in recent years.

During the Wuhan virus pandemic, for example, there were several reports of Islamists using coronavirus schemes to defraud Western governments, as in May 2020 when German police in Berin raided the homes of several Islamic extremists over fraud allegations.

These included a man who had been investigated for plotting a terrorist attack against the Berlin marathon.

Investigators said that Islamists had claimed cash for emergency financial aid for businesses affected by the coronavirus and the associated lockdown restrictions imposed on German residents. Some claimed aid for businesses that were not in operation at all.

Just a month later, Berlin police raided even more Islamists, suspected of engaging in benefit fraud. Some suspects were linked to the Ibrahim al-Khalil mosque, one of the main gathering points for Salafists in the German capital.

A Mosque in France has been shuttered for six months after authorities accused it of ‘inciting hatred’ and ‘advocating jihad’. https://t.co/96cfIpPnxo

— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 29, 2021

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Iran state TV says 2 French nationals arrested over protests

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state TV on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of two French citizens, saying they met with protesting teachers and took part in an anti-government rally.

The report identified the two as Cecile Kohler, 37, and Chuck Paris, 69, and said they were not on a tourist visit to Iran. France had earlier identified the two as a teachers’ union official and her partner on vacation in Iran.

The Intelligence Ministry in Tehran last week only said that it had detained two Europeans.

The TV broadcast footage of the arrival of the two, saying they landed from Turkey at Tehran airport on April 28. It also broadcast footage of their meetings with Iranian teachers and other activists, as well as their presence at a protest gathering, and also aired a video purported to show the two being arrested while on their way to the Tehran airport to leave the country on May 7.

The report said the two French citizens were “organizing a protest” with the purpose of creating “unrest” in Iran.

Last Thursday, France condemned the “groundless arrest” of the two and called for their immediate release. France’s Foreign Ministry said its ambassador in Tehran has already attempted to obtain consular access to the couple and that the charge d’affaires at Iran’s Embassy in Paris has been summoned for explanations.

Another French citizen, Benjamin Briere, was sentenced in January by Iran to over eight years in prison for espionage, for photographing “prohibited areas” with a drone in 2020 during what he said was a tourist visit in the north of the country.

Briere’s lawyer had claimed his client was being used as a “bargaining chip” in diplomatic negotiations at the time between Iran and Western countries over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

Also in January, Iranian justice ordered the re-imprisonment of Franco-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, arrested in 2019, who had for a time been allowed to serve a five-year prison sentence under house arrest. She had been accused of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic’s political system” and “collusion to undermine national security.”

There have been teachers’ strikes over the past weeks in cities across Iran. Teachers have walked out of their classes to press for better pay and working conditions.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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