French authorities have ordered an inspection of dozens of mosques and halls of worship based on possible links to Islamic extremism. Announcing the crackdown, Interior Minister Gérald Moussa Darmanin said mosques would be closed if they were found to encourage “separatism”.
This comes a week after a law was introduced to combat extremism.
It comes in response to attacks in Aktor, blamed on Islamic extremists. These include the brutal beheading of teacher Samuel Petty .
According to French media, Gerald Darmanin said in a note sent to the heads of regional security that there would be special checks and surveillance on 76 mosques and prayer halls, 16 of which are located in the Paris area.
He has ordered immediate action against 18 of them. These inspections are starting from Thursday.
In a tweet, he called it a “huge and unprecedented act of counter-terrorism.”
According to the Reuters news agency, state inspectors will inspect their financial support, the imam’s contacts, and possibly schools teaching the Qur’an to children.
The powers of Interior Minister Darmanin have been undermined in recent days by a proposed law on police abuse and the protection of police officers’ identities in France.
‘Muslims do not have large-scale extremism’
There are a total of 2,600 places of worship in France, and inspecting 76 places of worship is no big deal.
The interior minister says the facts are that there is no widespread extremism among Muslims in France.
“Almost all Muslims in France respect the laws of the republic and are saddened by this (extremism),” he said.
The beheading of Samuel Petty and the stabbing of three people at a cathedral near Nice have sparked outrage in France.
On social media, some people played the role of showing controversial sketches of the Prophet of Islam in a potty class.
A French high court has ordered the closure of the Great Mosque of Pantone for six months over a video condemning Patti. The mosque is located in a low-income area northeast of the capital, Paris.
State secularism is central to France’s national identity. According to him, public places, be they classrooms, workplaces or ministries, should be completely free from religion.