France: Imam arrested for illegal marriages

The imam of the Al Bader mosque in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne) was indicted Tuesday for regularly celebrating religious marriage before the civil marriage and for unemployment fraud, and placed under judicial supervision, according to a judicial source.  A judicial inquiry was started the same day.

The imam, Nourdine Mamoun (33), a French citizen, was banned from meeting husbands and marriage witnesses, and from leaving the country.

He is suspected of having celebrated 8 illegal marriages from Jan. 2006 to Dec. 2007 and of having improperly received a monthly allowance of 930 euro from Assedic (the French unemployment agency) from  Aug. 2007 till today.

Laid off by the Islamic Association of Meaux, which runs the mosque, he in effect continued acting as an imam as regarding Assedic, according to the judicial source.

The president of the association, Nabil Jarboui, was interrogated without having been arrested or officially investigated.

About 80 Muslims demonstrated at Meaux Tuesday to show their support for their religious leader and claim a "place of worship worthy of the name", reported a police source.  The Al Badr mosque, principal Muslim place in the city, currently accommodates more than 1000 worshipers in a hangar.

According to the judicial source, Mamoun explained regarding the marriages that they were in fact "engagement parties".

Regarding fraud his lawyer, Henri Gerphagnon, said that Mamoun had  more contract work and that he continued to work voluntarily for several months in exchange for donations from the worshipers.

The lawyer, who is also the lawyer for the Meaux municipal opposition, denounced the "incredible harassment" and the "disproportionate surveillance" of his clients since the end of 2006 and blames the leaders of the other association, the Association of Muslims in Meaux, of being behind it.

The Association of Muslims in Meaux lodged a complaint at the end of 2006 against the Islamic Association for embezzlement, accusations that weren't substantiated by the investigation, according to judicial sources.

Source: Le Monde (French)


joe six-pack said...

I would guess that these marriages were legal in the eyes of Islam. The Islamic legal system is VERY different from everyone else's.

Joachim Martillo said...

Despite joe six-pack's ignorant and probably Zionist-inspired bigoted beliefs, Islamic and Judaic concepts of marriage are practically identical, and an imam is no more needed to perform an Islamic marriage than a Rabbi is needed to perform a Jewish marriage.

Technically speaking an Imam is comparable to a shaliah tzibur but is nowadays used in Western countries to refer to the director of an Islamic center or mosque. A rabbi is more comparable to a mufti, to a qadi, or to an alim in countries like Egypt where there is an official certification of ulama comparable to smikhah.

BTW, a priest could also perform a marriage without a state license, and as far as I know France like the USA does not require that the religious marriage and the civil marriage take place simultaneously.

There is some sort of obscure subtext to this story that relates to an intracommunal dispute that has not been fully elucidated. It reminds of the early 19th century disputes between hasidim and misnagdim in Russia. Often one group tried to get the leaders of the other group thrown in jail.

Esther said...

Joachim Martillo,

Theoretically you're right, and I'm sure you know your stuff when it comes to the theory, but in practice Islamic and Judaic concepts of marriage are very much different. Luckily, we live in the practical world. A Jewish woman might be theoretically 'bought' in marriage, but in practice, she isn't. Her parents don't think they're selling her off, the husband doesn't think he's buying her and she doesn't feel she's property. A Muslim woman must have her male 'guardian' sign the contract selling her off. In fact, I understand the woman doesn't even need to be there.

I don't claim that everything perfect with Jewish legal law, but I'm not sure how you compare it to Muslim legal law.

I agree with Joe Six-Pack here and you calling him names only denigrates you. You did say you're a scholar?

The issue in this story is that the imam was conducting marriage ceremonies without the couple having gone through a civil marriage first. The French authorities want to prevent polygamy and ensure that the woman's rights are protected and therefore require that civil marriage be done before any religious ceremony. As far as I know this is the case in Europe and in other Western countries.

I see you used the opportunity well to get another dig at Jews - you are right, Jews have done great harm to other Jews throughout history because their hatred to each other made them go crazy. I'm sure you can empathize with that, since every comment you make on this blog is so full of such hatred.

Anonymous said...
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Esther said...


I've asked you before, please tone it down.