Mark Collins – Mosques: French Crackdown on Foreign Funding (Canada/Saudis?)

France can be tough:

To curb radicalism, France targets foreign funding for mosques

After three major terrorist attacks in the last year and a half, public outrage has forced the French government to respond. But one particular proposal has generated significant controversy: the shutdown of certain mosques and the foreign funding behind them.

Late last month — weeks after the Nice attack — Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for an outright ban on the foreign funding of mosques in France “for a period to be determined.” Days later, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that, in fact, more concrete measures had already been taken: Since December 2015, he said, 20 Salafist mosques were shut down altogether.

“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. For many French Muslims, however, the issue is the implicit association in his words — namely, that mosques are where terrorists radicalize.

“It gives the idea that mosques have something to do with terrorism,” Marwan Muhammad, the director of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, said in an interview. “It’s a way of problematizing Muslims once again.”

There are about 2,500 Muslim “houses of prayer” in France, not all of which are officially classified as mosques. According to France 24, only about 120 of these are associated with radical Salafism, a strict variation of Sunni Islam.

[Terrorist attack on French church ignites fears of religious culture wars]

One wonders how much our government knows about what goes on in mosques and other Muslim institutions here–those jolly jihadi Saudis provide quite a lot of money (see here and the latter part of this piece).

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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