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Interior Minister of France calls for security at mosques after recent vandalism events

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Paris: A day after vandals defaced the walls of a mosque with tags insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, France’s interior minister on Monday called for greater security of Muslim worship places days before the start of Ramadan.

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Early on Sunday, a caretaker and members of the local Muslim community discovered graffiti on a mosque and Muslim cultural centre in the western city of Rennes. Where the graffiti had tags insulting Islam and references to restarting the Crusades and a call for Catholicism to be made the state religion.

Following this the prosecutor’s office in Rennes launched an investigation.

Addressing reporters during a visit to the site, Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin denounced the vandalism and expressed “solidarity” with France’s 5.7 million Muslims. “The anti-Muslim inscriptions that have been inscribed on this cultural and religious centre are unacceptable,” Darmanin said. “Freedom of worship in France is a fundamental freedom.”

He also said that he has asked French police and the gendarmerie, which is responsible for policing smaller towns rural areas, to “strengthen vigilance around Muslim places of worship … at the dawn of Ramadan”.

The holy month of Ramadan is set to commence on Tuesday, in line with the sighting of the new moon.

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But there are mounting fears for the safety of French Muslims during the annual observance, during which Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset, amid a spate of ostensibly Islamophobic incidents in recent days.

Furthermore, on Thursday night, in the western city of Nantes, the door of a mosque was destroyed by fire. While, on Friday, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi was charged for making threats against a mosque in Le Mans, also in western France.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, denounced what he called an anti-Islam climate.

“Unfortunately, the declarations of certain politicians are only making things worse,” he told the media.

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