France targets mosques in fight against radicalism

In response to the series of terror attacks carried out in France, French officials have called for strict vigilance over foreign funding of mosques

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In response to the series of terror attacks carried out in France over the past year, French officials have called for strict vigilance over mosques in the country.

Following the Nice attack, Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a ban on foreign funding of mosques in France “for a period to be determined.”

Shortly after, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that, in fact, more concrete measures had already been taken, with 20 Salafist mosques forced to shut down since December 2015.

“There is no place in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques,” Cazeneuve said, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Muslim leaders.

A report recently published by French parliament recommended that the government establish a dedicated foundation that could monitor foreign fund remittances to French mosques.

One of the report’s authors, legislator Nathalie Goulet told new site France 24, that the idea is “not to ban foreign financing but to make it transparent and conditional.”

Funding for building new French mosques comes from individual donations in France — not from foreign governments, the report stated.

The report’s findings indicated that the bulk of the foreign funding came from Morocco and Algeria, which have sent 6 million euros ($6706200) and 2 million euros ($2235400), this year.

In France, mosques, churches, synagogues and other houses of worship — are not legally entitled to receive any state funding. As a result, mosques are funded through private donations from individuals and charitable organizations.

France is estimated to have a population of almost five million Muslims, making it Europe’s largest Muslim community.

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