World

France Is Scrambling To Close 160 Questionable Mosques

GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

French authorities have closed down three mosques since the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, and there are many more to come.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will show no mercy toward radical mosques as long as France is in a state of emergency. The third mosque was shut down Wednesday after police found “jihadist documents” during a raid east of Paris.

Hassan El Alaoui, who is in charge of nominating regional imams in France, said between 100 and 160 of the country’s 2,600 mosques will get shut down for a variety of reasons.

“According to official figures and our discussions with the interior ministry, between 100 and 160 more mosques will be closed because they are run illegally without proper licenses, they preach hatred or use takfiri speech,” El Alaoui told Al Jazeera.

“Takfiris” refer to Muslims who accuse others of the same faith of impure.

“This kind of speech shouldn’t even be allowed in Islamic countries, let alone secure countries like France,” El Alaoui said.

El Alaoui and other Muslim leaders work with authorities to pin-point mosques that participate in radicalized or otherwise illegitimate activities.

Felix Marquardt, cofounder of the al-Kawakibi Foundation, which works toward Islamic reformation, said he “has been shocked” of the activities he’s seen at certain mosques.

“It hardly comes as a surprise to me that there are mosques that absolutely deserve to be closed in France,” he told Al Jazeera.

Authorities have searched 2,235 homes and buildings, taken 232 people into custody and confiscated 334 weapons, 34 of them war grades, Cazeneuve said.

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