A mosque in France damaged by Islamophobic graffiti

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A mosque in France damaged by Islamophobic graffiti


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French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP

RENNES, France – Vandals degraded the walls of a mosque in western France with Islamophobic graffiti two days before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, local officials said on Sunday.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin led the political condemnation of the incident, which comes just days after an attack on another mosque in western France and amid what some Muslims say is growing hostility towards their community.

A caretaker and members of the local Muslim community in the city of Rennes discovered the graffiti early Sunday on the walls of the mosque and the Islamic cultural center.

They included labels insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, references to the resumption of the Crusades, and a call for Catholicism to become the state religion.

The Rennes prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation.

Mohammed Zaidouni, president of the local regional council of Muslims, condemned the “obscene phrases”.

“We are the children of the Republic and we are confronted with hatred, violence and barbarism,” he told AFP.

Darmanin tweeted a message of solidarity on Sunday and said he would visit the mosque later today.

The city’s socialist mayor, Nathalie Appere, and her senator, Valérie Boyer, right-wing Republicans have both denounced the incident.

In the western city of Nantes, the door of a mosque was destroyed by fire on Thursday evening.

And on Friday, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi was accused of threatening the mosque in Le Mans, also in western France.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, denounced what he said to be the current anti-Islam climate in France.

“Unfortunately, the statements of some politicians only make matters worse,” he told AFP.

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