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“Antisemitism is only one issue in a campaign upholding the values of France.”

Paris, 15 December 2021

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, saluted French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, for his decision to shutter the mosque of Beauvais, north of Paris, for its incitement to antisemitism, anti-Christian and homophobic hate.

“Beauvais is the 21st closure so far. In October, the Allonnes mosque, near Le Mans, was closed for promoting ‘armed Jihad’... Of some 2,600 mosques, prayer halls and Islamic schools in France, 99 so far have been investigated on the basis of President Macron’s ‘anti-separatism’ bill. This had followed the horror of a teacher decapitated for displaying caricatures of Mohammed as examples of ‘freedom of expression’,” noted Samuels.

The Centre welcomed the Minister’s call to crack down on a list of 76 further addresses. The great mosque of Pantin, a town adjacent to Paris, was closed for six months for publishing a video denouncing the murdered teacher. The Yemeni-trained Imam was removed.

France’s Muslim Council (CFCM) has been called upon to sign a “Charter of Republican [French] values,” to be signed also by all Imams. Mosques and Koranic schools for young children are to be investigated for their financing and their Imams’ backgrounds.

The Beauvais Imam’s lawyer claims that his client’s sermons are out of today’s context, relating historical events of Islam’s 1,400 years. The administrative procedures have been attacked by Turkey and other Muslim countries as well as some international NGOs as “expressions of Islamophobia.”

The policy will be a major factor in next April’s Presidential election, thereby gaining some votes from the extreme right, but also losing a part of the sizeable Muslim electorate.

“Antisemitism is only one issue in this campaign for the values of France,” concluded Samuels.

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“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)