French mosques targeted following Charlie Hebdo attack

Hours after the attack at the Charlie Hebdo office, two mosques were the target of firearms and grenades in Mans and Port-la-Nouvelle. The next day, an explosion occurred near a mosque in Villefranche-sur-Saône. There are no reported victims.

In Port-la-Nouvelle several shots were fired in the direction of the local mosque’s prayer room nearly one hour after prayers were finished. The room was empty at the time. According to the local police department the weapon used was a small pistol.

In Mans, three grenades were launched at a mosque. Only one grenade exploded in a small courtyard. The blast caused no major damage.

In Villefranche-sur-Saône an explosion was reported in front of a halal stand whose front was blown off. A source reported that it was the result of a “criminal act.” The city’s mayor Bernard Perrut said “it’s most likely linked to the current situation.” The stand is run by locals who regularly attend the city’s mosque. “Such a situation is worrying and upsetting,” said Perrut.

In Poitiers, graffiti was found on the door of a mosque and promptly removed. There is no information about the suspect or their motivations. “We feared this might happen,” said the mosque’s imam Boubaker Al Hadj Amor, “It’s why we reactivated surveillance. In addition to video surveillance was have two people who make rounds. They did not see the perpetrator. We think it must have happened after they left, around four in the morning.”

Workers building a mosque in Bischwiller also found graffiti on the mosque with the words “Ich bin Charlie” on one of the outside walls. The Franco-Turkish Cultural Association, who is directing the project, condemned the act.