French Islamic centre spray-painted with racist graffiti

French Islamic centre spray-painted with racist graffiti in latest Islamophobic incident
2 min read
05 July, 2021
The Great Mosque expressed "concern over the increase in acts of intolerance" and urged the authorities to step up security in religious places across France.
The Al Ghazali Institute of the Grand Mosque sprayed with Islamophobic and racist slur [Social media/Musulmans de France]

An Islamic institute in the French town of Martigues was defaced with Islamophobic and racist inscriptions on Sunday, in the fourth anti-Muslim incident this year.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin condemned the "unacceptable degradation" of the premises of Al Ghazali Institute of the Grand Mosque and assured that the perpetrators of these acts will be brought to justice.

Darmanin had made similar promises after the Avicenna Muslim centre in Rennes and the Arrahma mosque in Nantes were targeted with Islamophobic graffiti and arson in April, ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

The Great Mosque, headquartered in Paris, expressed "concern over the increase in acts of intolerance" and urged the authorities to step up security in religious places across France.

"These racist and anti-Muslim tags are an attack on the students who are the future imams of France and who, in the face of such acts, will not give up working for the unity of our society and our country," the institution said in a statement.

The incident took place at the institute’s campus in the southern city of Martigues, close to Marseilles, on Sunday morning. A march has been organised for July 11 in Martigues to show solidarity to the imams and students.

This is the fourth incident this year where Islamic cultural and religious places have been vandalised.

In February, the Eyyub Sultan Mosque, which is expected to be Europe's largest Islamic place of worship after completion, was sprayed with racist slur.

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The latest incidents have taken place as France’s sometimes fragile relationship with its Muslim minority, the largest in Europe, is tested.

Recently, France’s Senate voted in favour of banning girls under the age of 18 from wearing the hijab in public. The hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women and has been the subject of a decades-long feud in France.

The Senate’s move was tied to President Emmanuel Macron push to introduce a so-called "anti-separatism" bill.

Paris says the proposed legislation will bolster France’s secular system. But critics have denounced the bill, arguing it singles out Muslims.