French authorities have shut down 20 mosques and prayer halls considered to be preaching radical Islam since December. There are approximately 2,500 mosques or Muslim prayer halls in France. Approximately 120 of those are considered to be preaching radical Salafism, an ultra-conservative form of Islam known for advocating violence and Jihad, or other forms of radical Islam. The recent rash of terrorist attacks in France has forced the government to take extreme measures against the oppressive religion. A recent raid on a Salafist mosque raid thwarted a 15-year-old terrorist’s plan to launch an attack on his school. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has promised that many more closures are to come.
The French are not just targeting institutions. Over 80 people have been deported from the country since 2012. The recent raids and closures of radical Mosques guarantees that many more deportations are coming. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve commented on the closures, stating:
“There is no place…in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don’t respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women. That is why I took the decision a few months ago to close mosques through the state of emergency, legal measures or administrative measures. About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others.”
The recent terror attacks has also forced the government to consider whether or not they will continue to allow foreign countries to finance the builiding of Mosques in France. Last week Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that he would consider a temporary ban on foreign financing of mosques. He states the country needs a “new model” for relations with Islam. He states that it is becoming “increasingly hard” for France to guarantee the freedom of Islam. He states that a “terrible poison” of extremism is spreading and that more transparency is needed.
Cazeneuve confirmed that authorities are currently working on creating a French foundation for Islam to guarantee total transparency in the financing of mosques “with rigorous respect for secular principles.”