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French Muslims and Mosques Targeted by Racist Graffiti

Two mosques have been damaged in two different cities in southeast France as racist graffiti aimed at Muslims was sprayed on walls in a western town.

A Muslim resident stands by racial slurs painted on the walls of a mosque in the town of Saint-Etienne, central France. Credit: Huffington Post

Several Islamophobic attacks have taken place in France recently amid a government crackdown on mosques under a controversial “anti-separatism” law. Two mosques were vandalized early on Tuesday in La Mure and Domene in southeast France, according to local media.

When the congregation arrived at the mosque in La Mure, which is run by the Turkish Muslim community, they found that the trash bins in front of the building had been overturned, the mailbox and door handle damaged, and a small Turkish flag pennant was partially burned.

Islamophobic graffiti such as "Muslims are harmful" was written on the wall of the mosque as well. Security forces have launched an investigation into the incident.

In a separate incident, a person believed to be drunk entered a mosque in Domene on the evening of December 27, damaged the place, and wrote statements on a tablecloth accusing the imam and the community of inciting terrorism. The attacker managed to escape from the mosque. The security forces are investigating whether there is a connection between the two attacks.

Meanwhile, racist graffiti targeting Muslims was also written on the walls in the center of Chateau-Gontier town in the Pays de la Loire region. One of them read “Islam out of Europe”.

On Twitter, French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said that he supports the affected Muslims in La Mure and Chateau-Gontier and that such heinous acts are against the Republic’s values. In a statement, the Coordination Committee of Turkish Muslims in France (CCMTF), said that anti-Muslim, racist, and xenophobic ideas have been on the rise in the country, especially recently, and Muslims have been exposed to direct attacks

Pointing out that Muslims have witnessed an escalating hatred towards them with the closure of mosques, attacks on places of worship, and Islamophobic graffiti, the statement called for the condemnation of these attacks and for bringing the perpetrators to justice. With a controversial “anti-separatism” law adopted in August, Paris tightened the controls on Muslim establishments, places of worship, and influential Muslim figures.

On Tuesday, regional authorities ordered the closure of a mosque in the north of the country. The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Paris, will remain shut for six months, according to the prefecture of the Oise region where Beauvais is located. It said the sermons there incite hatred and violence.

The international community, especially the UN, as well as non-governmental organizations and human rights organizations have criticized the French government for targeting and marginalizing Muslims. As a result of the inspections carried out in 99 mosques this year upon the instructions of the French Interior Ministry, 22 of them were then closed, and legal proceedings were initiated against six of them.

(c) 2021 TRTWorld

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