Italy expels Moroccan imam, cites his support for IS

World

ROME (AP) — Italy on Saturday expelled a Moroccan imam back to his home country because of what it said was his support for the Islamic State group.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese cited reasons of state security in sending the 41-year-old imam, identified only as M.G., back to Casablanca.

In a statement, the interior ministry said the imam had expressed support for the late IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and shared jihadi propaganda on Facebook. The ministry said his Moroccan wife had also filed a formal complaint against him for abusing her because she refused to wear the covering niqab.

Italy has largely been spared Islamic-inspired attacks that have targeted France, Spain and other European countries in recent years. Italian officials point to its program of expelling suspected extremists. Since it began in 2015, the program has resulted in 462 people being sent home, including 98 last year.

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