Europe

France closes two more mosques citing ‘safety’ reasons amid Ramadan

France: In a report published in a local newspaper, two mosques in northern France have been shut down allegedly because the mosque buildings were not safe for hosting the prayer gathering.

The mosques in Tourcoing were shut down by the local authority.

According to a daily newspaper, a security commission assessed the buildings of Salman al-Farisi Mosque and the Clinquet Mosque belonging to the Read in the Name of Your Lord Foundation and published a report stating that the two mosques were not appropriate for hosting the congregation.

According to the report, Mayor Doriane Becue has ordered the closure of two of the city’s five mosques until further notice.

Moreover, during the checks carried out at the mosques, Eric Denoeud, deputy mayor of Tourcoing and in charge of security affairs in the municipality, said that certain security weaknesses were detected in the buildings.

He stated that the two places of worship would be shut until renovations were completed.

Despite the local Muslim community’s insistence that closing mosques during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would be inappropriate, the decision was made.

In August 2021, France’s top constitutional authority approved a controversial “anti-separatism” law that has been condemned for singling out Muslims, striking down just 2 of its articles.

Despite strong opposition from both rightist and leftist politicians, the bill was passed by the National Assembly in July.

According to the government, the law is meant to strengthen France’s secular system, but critics feel it restricts religious freedom and marginalises Muslims.

The law has been condemned for imposing restrictions on many aspects of the life of France’s Muslim population, which is Europe’s largest, with 3.35 million members.

It enables officials to intervene in the administration of mosques and associations, as well as control the funds of Muslim-affiliated associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It also restricts the Muslim’s educational choices by making homeschooling subject to official permission.

Patients are also barred from selecting their physicians based on their gender for religious or other reasons under the legislation.

International organisations and non-governmental groups, particularly the United Nations, have criticised France for using the law to target and marginalise Muslims.

According to a report published on March 2, France has taken control of approximately 25,000 mosques, schools, organisations, and workplaces since February 2018 and has closed 718 of them, including over 20 mosques.

 

 

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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