France is closing more mosques as its part of the fight against Islam.
Gerald Darmanin, France’s Minister of the Interior and Overseas said through his Twitter, “At the request of the President of the Republic, the fight against Islamist separatism continues. In the past two years, 23 separatist places of worship have been closed.”
This growing anti-Muslim sentiment across France’s political spectrum has been a cause of concern for rights activists and organisations.
In almost all of the instances of mosque closures, representatives of the mosques say the French government has provided inadequate public evidence about the grounds for their decisions.
In the past two years or so, the French government has closed dozens of mosques, using a controversial and much-criticised anti-separatism law.
France has started the process of shutting down the Obernai mosque in the Bas-Rhin area. But this isn’t the first time it has done so.
Since 2020, there have been at least 23 reported closures of mosques around the country, in what critics say is a direct action against French Muslims, who make up six percent of the total population.
A Reuters report from earlier this year talks about how an array of powers that rights activists, international organisations – including the United Nations – and members of the Muslim community say give authorities carte blanche to close down places of worship without proper scrutiny and with procedures so opaque the case can’t be overturned.
“It’s Kafkaesque,” Fionnuala Ni Aolain, a UN special rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism, told the news agency of the legal procedures used in such cases, which can include evidence where the source isn’t identified.
“The flirtation with secretive evidence is in itself worrying, but it also breaches provisions in international treaties relating to the right to a fair trial and equality before the law.”