French PM considering mosque closures in crackdown on 'extremism'

French PM considering mosque closures in crackdown on 'extremism'
2 min read
01 July, 2015
Under pressure from the far right, Manuel Valls has discussed closing down mosques and organisations sympathetic towards a fundamentalist view of Islam.
France has tightened security after the recent terrorist attacks [Getty]
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced Tuesday his willingness to close down mosques, organisations and businesses sympathetic towards fundamentalist Islam or jihadist groups.

The announcement was made under pressure from the conservative opposition and far right.

"The government is studying many options and will take the appropriate measures to stop terrorist operations. We must stop the organisations that encourage and incite violence," Valls said while answering questions in parliament.

The prime minister listed the recent measures taken by the French government to combat Islamist extremism in France after the recent Paris attacks that left 19 people dead.

The include prosecuting those glorifying jihadi violence on social media, stripping suspected extremists of French nationality, banning certain others from entering or leaving France, and cutting off government benefits.

The French Prime Minister has been heavily criticised by conservative figures from the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), headed by Nicolas Sarkozy, and far right figures from the National Front, headed by Marine Le Pen, since the attack on a chemical products factory by Yasin Salhi last week.

Critics have called on the government to shut down mosques frequented by extremist Salafists, and accused the government of not doing enough in combatting extremist groups in France.

French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve announced the expulsion from France of ten Imams who adopted and spread extremist Salafist messages.

Cazeneuve promised to take strict measures against mosques known for their sympathy towards extremist movements, in an efforts to respond to criticism against the socialist government's record on anti-terrorism.  

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.