Fourth mosque targeted in France last weekend

The Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France reports that in addition to those at Ozoir-La-Ferrière and Besançon, a fourth mosque was the target of an Islamophobic act this weekend: at Meximieux in eastern France. On Saturday mosque officials found an envelope containing slices of ham in the mailbox. When they went to the police station to lodge a complaint, officers refused to register it on the grounds that the letter only contained pork and was not accompanied by a letter with insults or threats.

Hamza Dziri, one of the mosque officials, contacted the CCIF. He was distraught, as this is not the first time acts of hatred have been directed against the mosque. While it was under construction he found stickers on the walls, windows and site gates featuring swastikas and tricolor flags and bearing the name of a mysterious organisation of “patriots”.

In January 2012 vandals broke a window and damaged the scaffolding. After that the site was placed under guard by members of the mosque and fifteen days later two vandals had returned, throwing stones at the glass door and breaking it. They escaped by car, but the guard was able to identify the registration number, which enabled the police to arrest the perpetrators. The vandals received suspended prison sentences and had to pay compensation.

With such a history, the CCIF observes, it is not surprising that Hamza Dziri says he is “worried”.

The protection of places of worship should not be left solely to the faithful, the CCIF says. Following antisemitic attacks in France, schools and synagogues have been placed under police surveillance. The CCIF concludes: “In the current situation where mosques are the target of Islamophobic acts every week, the competent authorities must urgently put in place a security plan for Muslim places of worship.”