Worshippers in the French Muslim community of Ozoir-la-Ferriére have discovered in the morning of February 3rd a number of racist and xenophobic graffiti painted on the doors to their mosque. The vandals left two swastikas, a “Fuck Islam” and “Long Live Gaul” on the facade of the building. The latter slogan refers to ancient Roman-era name for France and indicates to the xenophobic nature of the attack.
The mosque in the small town in close proximity to Paris is the latest victim in a string of attacks against mosques in the eastern areas of capital city. Prior to the most recent incident, two other mosques were vandalised with Stars of David painted upon their walls. The French police currently investigates the incidents.
News Agencies – December 7, 2012
Two Muslim organizations launched legal proceedings against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, accusing it of inciting racial hatred after it published provocative cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The allegations concern cartoons that caricatured the Prophet, including two drawings which show him naked, published at a time, on September 19, when violent anti-Western protests were flaring across the Muslim world in response to an US anti-Islam amateur film. The Algerian Democratic Union for Peace and Progress (RDAP) and the Organization of Arab Union are claiming a total of €780,000 in costs and damages. According to the complainants’, the drawings were “damaging to the honour and reputation of the Prophet Mohammed and the Muslim community”.
Thousands of extra copies of the weekly had to be ordered after the publications usual print-run of 75,000 sold out within hours of going on sale. The first hearing in the case has been scheduled for January 29 at a court in Paris.
News Agencies – November 14, 2012
French government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has condemned the inflammatory language used by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF) in opposing gay marriage , including equating same-sex marriage to bestiality. The UOIF also added that everyone should understand “the consequences that it could have on society, if this new form of marriage and parenthood is legalized. President François Hollande’s government has recently drafted a bill on “marriage for all” that could allow same-sex couples to get married in France as early as 2013.
On Islam – 11 November 2012
A group of French Muslim imams arrived in Israel on Sunday, November 11, on a controversial visit to dispel the perceptions that Muslims are harboring hatred against Jews. “Unfortunately French Muslims are seen as being anti-Semitic,” Hassan Shaljoumi, who heads a mosque in the Paris suburb of Drancy, told Maariv daily. Shaljoumi is a member of a 12-strong delegation of French imams, who arrived in Israel for talks with Israeli officials to show that Muslims are not anti-Semitic.
The delegation will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the visit. The visit, funded by the French foreign ministry, follows accusations to the Muslim community of harboring hatred against Jews.
News Agencies – August 7, 2012
A French Muslim woman has been charged with assault and inciting a riot after she refused a police ID check because she was wearing a banned full-face veil.
The 18-year-old is to appear in court in the northern city of Lille charged with assault, insulting police and inciting a riot after police tried to take her to a station for refusing to provide identification.
A French law passed in 2011, the first of its kind to be enforced in Europe, banned the wearing of the full-face-covering Islamic veil.
The law came into effect at an already fraught moment in relations between the state and France’s Muslim minority − the largest in Europe − with then president Nicolas Sarkozy accused of stigmatizing Islam to win back votes from a resurgent far right in this year’s election.
Supporters of the law have defended it as a measure aimed at supporting women’s rights although the text makes it clear that a woman cannot choose herself to cover her face in public.
The woman, arrested on Saturday, was stopped by officers in Roubaix, outside northern France’s largest city of Lille.
She allegedly said she did not have time and did not want to show her ID card and covered herself up with another veil as she walked away, the police source said, asking not to be named.
When police tried to take her to the station, she allegedly grabbed hold of a vehicle and started kicking, punching and screaming, the source added.
She allegedly tried to bite police and scratched one of them before being taken into custody. None of the officers were hurt.
In a similar incident on July 24, three officers in the southern city of Marseille sustained minor injuries after they stopped a fully veiled woman by a mosque. The woman, two men and a minor are due in court over the alleged assault.
Le Monde – June 1, 2012
This Le Monde article charts how a number of alliances and fractures are unfolding as French Muslim organizations critique the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) for its lack of representativity. In fact, it is the two initial founders of the CFCM who, having boycotted the 2011 elections, are calling for reform. A number of groups are also critical of CFCM president Mohammed Moussaoui, claiming he has not suitably reformed the organization to better include women and young people.
News Agencies – May 24, 2012
A leading French Muslim group says three mosques have been vandalized and is urging authorities to punish the perpetrators. The French Council of the Muslim Faith, or CFCM, said racist insults and Nazi slogans were scrawled on a mosque in the southeastern town of Tarascon and another in the eastern city of Strasbourg. It said the mosque in the southern town of Draguignan was vandalized May 17.
In a statement, the CFCM expressed concern about what it called the “multiplication of these cowardly and hateful acts” and warned against complacency. Muslim and Jewish graveyards and religious buildings around France have long suffered sporadic vandalism. The group urged authorities to track down and punish those responsible “with all the necessary severity.”
The Toronto Star – March 31, 2012
Nearly one year after France implemented its controversial ban on wearing the Islamic veil— a niqab or burka — in public, a surprising fact has emerged. It appears that few women have actually removed their veils to obey the law. As the presidential election in France approaches, and Islam and Muslim integration are top of mind, critics say the law was an exercise in pleasing the electorate, in “marketing,” while further stigmatizing Muslims.
It didn’t take a visitor to the Les Minguettes neighbourhood of Vénissieux long to observe the widespread non-compliance. Upon emerging from the subway at Vénissieux station, a niqab-wearing woman walked in from the opposite direction, accompanied by a man. On the tram platform outside, two niqab-wearers waited, chatting. And in Les Minguettes, they were not the norm, but neither were they hard to find.
Vénissieux is the place where the idea for the law first originated, with André Gérin, then the Communist mayor and soon-to-be-retired National Assembly member. According to numbers compiled by the union of police chiefs, the SCPN, there have been 335 people taken in for questioning by the police. About 300 have been issued fines, which top out at 150 euros (about $200).
News Agencies – March 21, 2012
France’s top Muslim leader said that a besieged suspected Islamist who claims to have carried out a string of shootings to avenge Palestinian children had acted against Islam. “These acts are in total contradiction with the foundations of this religion,” said the head of the French Muslim Council, Mohammed Moussaoui. “France’s Muslims are offended by this claim of belonging to this religion.”
Moussaoui and Richard Prasquier, the head of France’s main Jewish organisation, the CRIF, were to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy as the siege outside the shooter’s apartment continued in the southwestern city of Toulouse. The joint meeting shows “an important thing,” Prasquier said, “that it is absolutely impossible to confuse this person and the Islamist, jihadist, al-Qaedist movement that he represents, with Islam in France, which is a religion like any other.”
News Agencies – March 14, 2012
President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Paris’s main mosque, a week after a row over halal meat led France’s Muslims and Jews to complain they were being used as pawns in the presidential election. Sarkozy met the mosque’s rector and the French Muslim Council leader and said he told them “he did not want, in this electoral period, some of our compatriots to feel hurt by controversies that have no place here”.
Sarkozy also inaugurated at the mosque a memorial to Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France. The country has for years been debating how far it is willing to go to accommodate Islam, now France’s second religion, and Sarkozy and Le Pen have both made the matter a central issue in their campaigns.