SHAFAQNA – The vice-president of Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National party has controversially claimed “100 per cent of places of radicalisation are mosques” after a leading rector called for the number to be doubled in France.
Dalil Boubakeur, the President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith and rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, was quoted by French media as telling a conference that the 2,200 mosques in France were not enough to support the estimated five million Muslims living in the country.
“We need to double [the number of mosques] in two years,” he was quoted as telling an audience at the annual meeting of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UIOF) by AFP.
“There are a lot of prayer rooms, of unfinished mosques, and there are a lot of mosques that are not being built.”
Responding to his comments, Florian Philippot, a vice-president of the Front National party, reportedly told iTele: “100 per cent of places of radicalisation are mosques”. Mr Philippot claimed doubling the number of mosques would mean “three mosques a day, a mosque every eight hours”.
His comments came against a backdrop of growing tensions in France following the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the attack on a Jewish kosher supermarket, both of which were committed by Islamist extremists. They were followed by a spike of attacks on mosques in the country.
Front National also released a statement denouncing the request to double the number of mosques as “ludicrous and dangerous,” in a statement.
However, Monsignor Ribadeau-Dumas, spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference of France, said Boubakeur’s demand was “legitimate”.
“Muslims should, like Christians and Jews, be able to practise their religion,” he told Europe 1.