France threatens to shut down ‘hate mosques’

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PARIS: French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has vowed to begin shutting down mosques, after almost 130 people were killed in a series of extremist attacks in Paris.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said Sunday he would begin the “dissolution of mosques where hate is preached,” as quoted by Le Figaro newspaper reports Sputnik.

According to the minister, the state of emergency announced in the country would allow to “attack preachers of hate” more rapidly.

On Friday night, eight terrorists wearing explosive belts attacked several venues across Paris, killing 129 people and injuring over 350 at restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and in the vicinity of the Stade de France stadium. Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by ISIL.

In June, Cazeneuve had said that some 40 foreign imams had been deported from France for preaching hatred in the past three years.

French Muslims fear repercussions after attack

Muslim community leaders promptly denounced the massacre and politicians clearly blamed the radical Islamic State movement for the violence. But ordinary Muslims fear they will be blamed.

“When you look like a Muslim, it’s tough,” said Marjan Fouladvind, an Iranian doctoral student in Paris.

“The way people look at us will change again, and not for the better … Sometimes it’s preferable to be mistaken for a Jew and not a Muslim because then there are fewer problems.”

Worshippers leaving the Grand Mosque of Paris after the midday prayer also worried that Muslims in France would be blamed for a conflict rooted in the Middle East.

“This story soils Islam and it soils Muslims,” said a man named Soufiane. “There are problems over there and they shouldn’t be imported here.”

France’s 5 million Muslims saw how easily the link is made after attacks in January that killed 17 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

In the weeks that followed anti-Muslim acts such as the spraying of graffiti on mosques and insults made against veiled women flared up. The National Observatory of Islamophobia registered a rise of 281 percent in such incidents in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same three months of the previous year.

Saphirnews, a Muslim news website, reported on Sunday that French Muslims were once again becoming “collateral victims of terrorism”. Early on Saturday morning, blood-red crosses were found painted on the wall of a mosque in eastern Paris, it said.

The slogan “France, wake up!” was daubed on the wall of a mosque in southern France and “Death to Muslims” was written on walls around Evreux north of Paris, Le Parisien daily reported.

“We don’t understand what’s going on … This just pushes us backwards,” said Ismael Snoussi, a worshipper at a mosque in Luce, the town outside Chartres where one of Friday’s attackers grew up.

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