November 2, 2010
Minister of the Interior of France, Brice Hortefeux, has announced that between the 1st of January and September 30th, 2010, almost 500 cemeteries have been vandalized across France. Hortefeux explained that 485 cemeteries and religious sites were vandalized, 410 of which were Christian sites, 40 of which were Muslim (of which 34 were mosques or prayer rooms and 6 were cemeteries) and 35 of which were Jewish.
In this opinion piece, Atmane Aggoun, sociologist and CNRS researcher, points to the important issue of Muslim cemeteries in France, particularly as the immigrant Muslim population grows older. Fewer Muslims in France seek to be buried in their countries of origin. There are some spaces available at the Thiais cemetery (in Val-de-Marne) outside of Paris. Aggoun claims we might be witnesses a strong sense of integration as more immigrants choose to be buried in France, even if it happens underground.
Eight Muslim tombs within the municipal cemetery of La Manche were desecrated October 22. The tombs were located in Montjoie-Saint-Martin, Normandy and covered with Nazi-related symbols. All eight tombs were of Moroccan soldiers who died in service of France during the Second World War.