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France to Close 7 Mosques and Some Associations Again by End of 2021

France will close seven mosques and associations by the end of this year. France’s interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, announced on Tuesday (26/10), that the mosque and the association that will be closed are suspected of promoting “radical Islamism”.

Darmanin welcomed the decision to close a mosque in the town of Allonnes for six months on the grounds that it defended ‘radical Islam’. He said that the bank account managing the mosque was also confiscated.

He added that 13 associations had been closed in the country since President Emmanuel Macron took office. Meanwhile, 92 of France’s 2,500 mosques were closed as a result of the inspection. Darmanin said, since September 2020, the residence permits of 36,000 foreigners have also been canceled on the grounds that these people threaten public order.

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In August 2021, France’s highest constitutional authority approved an “anti-separatism” law. The law has become controversial and has drawn criticism for being seen as targeting Muslims.

The bill was passed by the National Assembly in July 2021, despite strong opposition from far-right and left-wing MPs. The government claims that the law is meant to strengthen France’s secular system, but critics believe it limits religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.

The bill has been criticized for targeting France’s Muslim community, which is Europe’s largest with 3.35 million members. In addition, the law imposes restrictions on many aspects of their lives.

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The law allows officials to intervene in mosques and associations who are responsible for their administration as well as control the finances of Muslim-affiliated associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The law also limits Muslim education options by making homeschooling dependent on official government approval.

Not only that, under this law, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctor based on gender for religious or other reasons, and secularism education has been made mandatory for all civil servants. France itself has been criticized by international organizations and NGOs, especially the United Nations, for targeting and cornering Muslims with the rule of law.

Previous France Closes Six Mosques Suspected of Radicals

The French government moved to close six mosques and dissolve several associations suspected of producing radical Islamic propaganda. This was announced by the French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin on Tuesday (28/9) local time.

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As reported by the AFP news agency on Wednesday (29/9/2021), Darmanin told the newspaper Le Figaro that a third of the 89 places of worship “suspected of being radical” and marked by the intelligence service had been investigated since November 2020.

He said, out of the dozens of places of worship, measures to close six mosques – in five different areas across France – had been launched.

Authorities will also request the dissolution of the Islamist publisher Nawa and the Defense League for Black Africa (LDNA).

Darmanin said that Nawa, who is based in the southern French city of Ariege, “incites the extermination of the Jewish people and legitimizes the stoning of homosexuals.”

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Darmanin added that LDNA, the organizer of a protest against police violence in front of the US embassy in Paris in June last year, had “invoked hatred and discrimination”.

“Next year, 10 other associations will be the object of the dissolution procedure, four of them next month,” said Darmanin, 29/09/2021.