The French government has shut down 20 mosques in France suspected of harboring and encouraging Islamic extremism since December, according to the LA Times.
France is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe and has been ravaged by terror attacks in Nice and Paris, killing and injuring hundreds. French Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve said 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.”
State of emergency law permitted Cazeneuve to close “about twenty mosques” linked to jihadi teachings and he claims “there will be others [shut down].” Out of the 2,500 total mosques and prayer halls in France, 120 teach Salafism, an ultra-conservative sect of Sunni Islam associated with radical ideology.
Cazeneuve made these comments after meeting with the French Council of the Muslim Religion. The meeting convened to plan ways to finance construction and administration of French mosques without taking funds from abroad, which often invites radical influence. The construction of the new mosques will be financed, in part, through fees collected from the halal food sector.
In light of an attack on a priest in Normandy last week by two ISIS affiliates, groups of Muslims in France attended a Catholic mass in an act of solidarity. Forty-one prominent French Muslims issued a statement on Sunday calling for “a cultural battle against radical Islamism among the youth.”
The French government will be aiming for “total transparency” in constructing the new mosques, according to Cazeneuve.
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