France Closes Allonnes Mosque for Promoting Armed Jihad and Sharia; 7 More to Be Shut

French government on Tuesday announced the closure of a mosque in Allonnes near Le Mans in France for promoting terrorist hatred and jihad. The government has also decided to close seven more mosques and associations by the end of this year on the pretext of facilitating 'radical Islam' and 'legitimizing terrorist attacks.'

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced in a statement on Tuesday that the mosque in the city of Allonnes in northwestern France, which hosts around 300 worshipers has been shut down for six months.

Mosque in Allonnes Promotes Armed Jihad?

According to Darmanin, the managers and imams at the mosque allowed actions that are contrary to the 'values of the Republic'. He said the bank accounts of the mosque's administrators were also seized.

Allonnes is a popular town of around 11,000 inhabitants located south-west of Le Mans. The charges against the mosque include 'cultivating hatred towards France, Westerners, Christians, and Jews'. "The sermons propagated in this mosque cultivating hatred toward France," Darmanin wrote on Twitter, defending the closure. The administration said that apart from hatred and discrimination, the mosque also promoted "the establishment of sharia" in France.

According to some reports, this place also houses a Quranic school "welcoming around 110 children before whom armed jihad was valued and which therefore constitutes a place of indoctrination". A pasted sign on the door of the school said on Wednesday that the classes were "suspended until further notice."

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin Twitter

France's Fight Against Mosques

The French government is also planning the closure of seven other mosques or cultural associations before the end of this year. This is in line with the police and judicial fight against Islamist separatism, according to French administration.

The minister informed that some 13 religious associations have been closed since President Emmanuel Macron took office in Elysee Palace.

As many as 92 of the 2,500 mosques in the country were closed as a result of the inspections, Darmanin noted. He also said that since September 2020, residence permits of 36,000 foreigners have been canceled due to the "threat to the public."

Is France Cracking Down on Muslims or Eliminating Radical Elements?

Closure of the mosques is part of a campaign launched by France to combat radical Islamic elements. Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher, was beheaded by a radical Islamist in October 2020 after showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The incident fueled a nationwide reckoning about the threats posed by the prevalence of Islamism and institutions that played vital role in supporting and promoting the extremist ideas.

Earlier this year, the French government passed the controversial "anti-separatism" law that was assumed to counter the menace of Islamist-driven attacks. Muslims in France are worried over this bill and are criticizing Macron's anti-Muslim rhetoric.

According to the French government, the legislation focuses on strengthening France's secular system, but critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalizes Muslims.