China is not the only nation-state to launch a clampdown on Muslim symbols and practices. France has announced its plan to close seven more mosques and associations across the country by the end of 2021 in order to check “radicalism” as part of its sensitised campaign against the country’s increasing Islamisation.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a statement on 26 October that the mosque in the city of Allonnes in northwestern France had been shut down for six months on grounds of harbouring “radical Islam” leanings. He said the bank accounts of the mosque’s administrators were seized too.
13 associations diffusant l’idéologie islamiste ont été dissoutes depuis 2017, soit trois fois plus que les gouvernements précédents. Ces dernières semaines, la maison d’édition NAWA et la « coordination contre le racisme et l’islamophobie » ont ainsi été dissoutes.Tweet by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin
The tweet above in French translated to: “13 associations disseminating Islamist ideology have been dissolved since 2017, three times more than previous governments. In recent weeks, the NAWA publishing house and the ‘Coordination Against Racism and Islamophobia’ have been dissolved.”
“The sermons propagated in this mosque cultivate hatred for France,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter, defending the closure. He said that seven associations or religious buildings will be “disbanded by the end of the year.”
Underlining that 92 of the 2,500 mosques in the country were closed as a result of the inspections, Darmanin said that since September 2020, residence permits of 36,000 foreigners have been cancelled due to the “threat to the public.”
In the statement made by the Sarthe Governorate on 25 October, it was stated that the mosque with a congregation of 300 people in Allonnes was closed for six months on the grounds that it “defended radical Islam.” The decision was part of the anti-Muslim campaign that has been criticised worldwide by international human rights organizations as well as global leaders, particularly in Muslim-majority countries.
In August, France’s highest constitutional authority approved a law that was introduced by Macron’s La Republique en Marche (LREM) party in October. The National Assembly passed the bill despite opposition from French lawmakers and French Muslims.
Islamic campaign has significantly risen in Europe in recent years, threatening to not only change the native demographics of countries to which Muslims had migrated steadily due to miserable conditions in the countries of their origin but also to change their laws and governance models. It is no longer about distant examples like Isis and al Qaeda wrecking parts of Asia since the murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.
An anti-terrorism investigation was launched in France after a policewoman was stabbed to death in Paris commuter town in Rambouillet by a 36-year-old Islamist terrorist from Tunisia on 23 April.
Macron vowed on Twitter back then that “in our fight against Islamist terrorism, we will never give in”.
The debate around the anti-radicalisation law of France got charged up following the 16 October 2020 beheading of a school teacher, Samuel Paty, by a teenage Islamist who said he wanted to punish him for showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in a class on free speech.
The Christian, agnostic and atheist people of France have risen too. According to the National Observatory of Islamophobia, an association of Muslims living in denial of their religion’s violent nature, there were 235 attacks on Muslims in France in 2020, up from 154 the previous year, a 53% jump. Most of the attacks took place in the Ile-de-France (greater Paris), Rhones-Alpes and Paca regions of the country. Attacks on mosques jumped 35% in the same year. A global coalition of 25 woke organisations asked the European Commission to investigate France for its state-sponsored support of Islamophobia.
The French bill targets the Muslim community and imposes restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives. It allows intervening in mosques and the associations responsible for their administration as well as controlling the finances of associations and NGOs belonging to Muslims. It also restricts the education choices of the Muslim community by preventing families from giving children home education. The bill also prohibits patients from choosing doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons and makes “secularism education” compulsory for all public officials.