Muslim institute in France vandalized with Islamophobic slurs

A Muslim institution in the French capital Paris was vandalized with Islamophobic and racist graffiti, a report said Sunday.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin condemned the act as “unacceptable degradation” and promised to find the perpetrators of these acts.

The incident took place at the Al Ghazali Institute of the Grand Mosque of Paris campus in the southern city of Martigues, close to Marseilles, on Sunday morning.

The Great Mosque of Paris strongly expressed “concern over the increase in acts of intolerance” and urged the “authorities to reinforce in a concrete and consistent way the security of religious places in France.”

“These racist and anti-Muslim tags are an attack on the students who are the future imams of France and who, in the face of such acts, will not give up working for the unity of our society and our country,” it said in a statement.

Chems-Eddine Hafiz, the rector of the mosque, who also heads the Ghazali Institute, organized a support rally on July 11 in Martigues to show solidarity with the imams and students.

This is the fourth such incident this year wherein Islamic cultural and religious places were vandalized by hateful anti-Muslim inscriptions.

In April, the Avicenna Muslim center in Rennes city, and the Arrahma mosque in Nantes, both in the northwestern Brittany region, were attacked with Islamophobic graffiti and arson, respectively, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Following the incidents, Darmanin had promised security for Islamic places of religion and culture.

Also in February, the under-construction site of the Eyyub Sultan Mosque, which is expected to be Europe’s largest Islamic place of worship, was sprayed with racist inscriptions.

The number of Islamophobic incidents in France, home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim community, rose sharply last year amid controversy over the government’s stance toward the religious minority.

According to the head of the National Observatory of Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri, there were 235 attacks on Muslims in France in 2020, up from 154 the previous year, a 53% jump. Most of the attacks took place in the Ile-de-France (Greater Paris), Rhones-Alpes and Paca regions of the country, Zekri said in a statement

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