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France shuts four 'extremist' mosques under emergency laws Open in fullscreen

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France shuts four 'extremist' mosques under emergency laws

One of the mosques closed was reportedly a hotbed of Salafist activity [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 November, 2016

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French authorities move against mosques that 'provoke hatred or violence' amid growing pressure to tackle domestic terrorism.
France has shut down four moques in the Ile-de-France region around Paris due to suspected links to terror and hate preaching, the country's interior minister said on Wednesday.

A statement released by interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that authorities has "arranged the administrative closure of four mosques".

He added that the steps were taken in accordance with "Article 8 of the laws around the state of emergency which allows for closing places of worship in which words are spoken that provoke hatred or violence or incite people to commit acts of terrorism or justify such acts".

The mosques and worship areas were closed with immediate effect.

According to the statement, one prayer room that was shut in the department of Yvelines was "an influential place for the Salafist movement...that called for discrimination and hate and even violence".

It also mentioned that the Al-Islah mosque in Villiers-sur-Marne was closed. Police discovered a clandestine Islamic school running in the same commune earlier this year. The school was frequented by 12 people convicted of attempting to travel to Syria to join extremist groups.

France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, who also inspired one of its followers to drive a truck into a crowd of people at the Nice waterfront in July, killing 86 people.

Other attacks have also taken place, including the murder of a priest in a church, while other plots have been thwarted by police.

In September, France's top anti-terror prosecutor warned that military defeat of the IS group could pose an increased risk of attacks in Europe.

"We see clearly in the history of terrorism that when terrorist organisations are in difficulty on their own turf they look for an opportunity to attack abroad," Molins said in an interview with French daily Le Monde. 

According to Molins, around 700 French citizens are currently in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

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