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France

France deports 40 imams for preaching hatred

media Yassin Salhi escorted by police officers, near Lyon, France, June 28, 2015. Reuters/Emmanuel Foudrot

France has deported 40 imams for “preaching hatred” in the past three years, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.

“We have deported 40 preachers of hatred since 2012. Since the beginning of the year we have examined 22 cases and around 10 imams and preachers of hatred have been expelled,” said Cazeneuve.

Cazeneuve vowed to clamp down on mosques and preachers inciting hatred adding that several mosques were being investigated.

His statement comes after Friday's terrorist attack on an industrial chemicals factory near Lyon where a suspected Islamist beheaded his boss.

"We cannot lose this war because it's fundamentally a war of civilisation. It's our society, our civilisation that we are defending," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had told French television on Sunday following the attack at the plant.

Although the assault had the hallmarks of a jihadist act, it is also believed to have personal motivations.

“There is no doubt of the personal motivations but there is a symbolism taken from the most atrocious, abject images of terrorism,” Cazeneuve said on Monday.

Yassin Salhi, 35, confessed to the police on Sunday to killing his boss and pinning his head to a fence with two Islamic flags.

He was known to security services for links to radical Islamists in France.

Valls said Sunday that 1,800 people were "linked" in some way to the Islamist cause.

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