DITIB-run mosque set on fire by anti-Muslim attack in France

A mosque run by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) in the city of Metz in northeastern France was set on fire early Friday.

The mosque suffered significant damage after three Molotov cocktails were placed on its walls by unidentified assailants and set alight.

Ali Durak, president of the DITIB Metz Central Mosque Association, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the attack took place toward the morning.

Highlighting that the Molotov cocktails had been attached to the windows of the mosque, Durak said that the mosque’s exterior had been very damaged and that the windows were burned, but added that the mosque had been saved from being completely burned down at the very last moment.

“We did not expect this because we are not an introverted association. We are an association that carries out activities together with the French people here. Along with Islamic activities, we also work as a charity organization,” he said.

Durak said that this is the first time a mosque has been attacked in the city of Metz and noted that officials from the municipality contacted the association, including the mayor.

The Turkish Muslim Associations Coordination Committee (CCMTF) in France released a statement underling that anti-Muslim, racist and xenophobic ideas are on the rise in the country and the Muslim community has become a target.

CCMTF stressed that the attack was directly related to Islamophobia, which has become more evident with the presidential elections, however, Muslims in France have been exposed to it for years.

The attack coincides with an increase in Islamophobic attacks and the closure of places of worship, especially mosques, in the country recently, it said.

Mosque administrators have called for the perpetrators of the attack to be found as soon as possible.

Earlier, the request of the representatives of the religious association to install security cameras in and around the mosque was rejected by the governor’s office without any justification.

Metz Mayor François Grosdidier has condemned the attack, which he described as Islamophobic, and issued a message of solidarity.

Stating that the attack “harmed the spirit of the city where tolerance prevails,” Grosdidier said the city will hold a solidarity rally on Saturday at noon local time to condemn the crime.

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