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France dissolves group run by rapper for defending terrorism

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered a small, little known organization run by a rapper dissolved for alleged hate speech and defending terrorism. A statement from the Interior Ministry said the association called “Killuminateam - soldiers on the path of Allah'' spread its message under the cover of helping the needy.

Its “main activity was organizing actions in public to make calls to hate and violence,” the ministry statement said. It added that the association used the internet and videos laden with content reflecting “a conspiratorial, anti-Semitic (and), anti-Christian nature” and "defending terrorism." Macron ordered via a decree that the association be dissolved.

The group, based in the Val d'Oise region, north of Paris, had just 15 members, according to the ministry statement. However, its dissolution is a sign of the government's intention to fight what Macron calls “Islamist separatism.”

The president announced last week his determination to counter Islamic extremism through diverse means, from giving the government more authority in the training of imams to beefing up police numbers in vulnerable neighborhoods.

The rapper who heads the group calls himself Killuminaty Masta Ex. He was convicted in November and given a six-month suspended sentence for defending terrorism, the French press wrote at the time. The conviction was linked to his song on YouTube called “Terrorist” in which he evokes the 2015 Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people.

A woman describing herself as his wife said in a recent post on YouTube that her husband was jailed Jan. 5 on fraud charges. Castigating authorities and police, the woman who did not give her name said her husband “never called for armed jihad,” and instead devoted himself to helping youth “in the name of Islam.”

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