Muslims fear surge in French attacks

Muslims fear surge in French attacks
Tue Aug 13, 2013 09:06:49

Muslim leaders in the French city of Lyon are concerned about a surge in attacks on mosques.

Anti-Muslim incidents have risen steadily in recent years in France, home to Europe's largest Islamic minority, according to the Committee against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), which blames anti-Muslim rhetoric by far-right politicians.

A far-right activist said such violence had been provoked by government efforts to suppress "nationalist movements" that provided a legitimate outlet for discontent.

In an anti-Muslim incident, a soldier was arrested on suspicion of planning a shooting during an Islamic feast holiday.

Kamel Kabtane, a rector at the Grand Mosque of Lyon, called on local Muslims to gather for a show of solidarity at the suburban Minguettes Mosque, which police said the soldier arrested on Saturday planned to shoot at on the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The 23-year-old, from an air force base near Lyon, was placed under formal investigation on Monday, accused of "possessing category 4 ammunition in relation to a terrorist undertaking". Described by the interior ministry as holding extreme right-wing views, he was also accused of lobbing a Molotov cocktail at a mosque near Bordeaux last year.

"There is a clear will today to hurt the Muslim community," Kabtane said, adding that two minor acts had been carried out against mosques in southeastern France over the weekend.

"These are no longer isolated acts. It feels like there is a whole organization being put in place," he said.

According to the Islamophobia Observatory, threats and attacks of an Islamophobic nature rose by 35% during the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period last year.

A report published in July recorded 108 attacks – including the use of violence, fire and damage – compared with 80 reported in the first half of 2012. The number of threats and insults rose from 63 in 2012 to 84 this year.


string(333) "[{"id":"1491503","sort":"3069847","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/05/alalam_635086062834348150_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"France spies on phone calls, emails & social media"} ,{"id":"1502532","sort":"3069848","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/08/06/alalam_635113951314693960_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"France plans to extend hijab ban"} ]"