France has unleashed a broad crackdown on Muslims creating a climate of fear amongst its citizens, influential members of Muslim civil society say in a petition.

In a press release issued on October 28, 2020, various Islamic key figures from around the world condemned the ‘draconian’ actions of France against Muslims and the anti-Muslim sentiment on the rise in the country.

“We, the undersigned, condemn the recurrent insults towards the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and the insistence of the French government to defend them. This crosses a red line that rightly draws the contempt of Muslims across the world,” the statement began.

The statement mentioned French actions against Islamic institutions, including BarakaCity, which was later dissolved by the French Council of Ministers: “We are alarmed by the French government’s violent crackdown on its Muslim citizens which has seen the closure of mosques, schools, businesses and attempts to dissolve mainstream civil society organisations, such as the anti Islamophobia group CCIF and humanitarian relief charity, BarakaCity.”

According to a tweet by French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, “The BarakaCity association was dissolved in the Council of Ministers this morning [October 28, 2020]” because it allegedly “incited hatred, maintained relations within the radical Islamist movement, took pleasure in justifying terrorist acts.”

The press release, penned before Darmanin’s tweet, warns that recent statements by the French President Emmanuel Macron and Darmanin “have been irrational and aggressive, deliberately targeting a minority community” and that their words had consequences: “Already there are reports that two Muslim women were stabbed close to the Eiffel Tower on 21 October 2020 in an Islamophobic attack. Such incidents do not take place in a vacuum.”

The press release reveals that Muslims around the world were shocked by Darmanin’s public admission “that dozens of individuals not linked to any criminal investigation, were raided in order to simply send a message to Muslims in France. This extraordinary claim highlights that the police and other arms of government have been politicised to intimidate otherwise innocent Muslim citizens.”

The press release demands that Muslims be treated with dignity and respect, emphasising “Muslim communities and organisations stand in solidarity with France’s Muslims.”

On a final note, it says “We call on the French government to end its campaign of hostility towards those carrying out their duties to live lawfully. Muslims in France should be afforded the rights that others are guaranteed; fully, without facing state oppression.”

A full copy of the letter with its signatories can be found below:

We, the undersigned, condemn the recurrent insults towards the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and the insistence of the French government to defend them. This crosses a red line that rightly draws the contempt of Muslims across the world.

We are alarmed by the French government’s violent crackdown on its Muslim citizens which has seen the closure of mosques, schools, businesses and attempts to dissolve mainstream civil society organisations, such as the anti Islamophobia group CCIF and humanitarian relief charity, BarakaCity. These are celebrated organisations that conduct their activities in a lawful manner. They should not be harassed by the state.

Recent statements by the President Emmanuel Macron and the Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin have been irrational and aggressive, deliberately targeting a minority community.

Already there are reports that two Muslim women were stabbed close to the Eiffel Tower on 21 October 2020 in an Islamophobic attack. Such incidents do not take place in a vacuum..

The Interior Minister made the shocking public admission that dozens of individuals not linked to any criminal investigation, were raided in order to simply send a message to Muslims in France. 

This extraordinary claim highlights that the police and other arms of government have been politicised to intimidate otherwise innocent Muslim citizens.

Muslim communities and organisations stand in solidarity with France’s Muslims. We call on the French government to end its campaign of hostility towards those carrying out their duties lawfully. Muslims in France should be afforded the rights that others are guaranteed; to live fully, without facing state oppression.

1. Mohammed Kozbar, Finsbury Park Mosque

2. Imam Yousaf Baig, Wifaqul Ulama

3. Shaqur Rehman, Islamic Council of Europe

4. Zahir Mahmood, As-Suffa Institute

5. Shaykh Suliman Gani, Purley Masjid

6. Shaykh Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad, AlMarkaz Centre for Revival & Reform Studies

7. Shaykh Farid Haibatan, Muslim Research & Development Foundation

8. Shakeel Begg, Lewisham Islamic Centre

9. Dr. Omar Suleiman, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

10. Prof. Dr. Sami Al-Arian, Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) - Istanbul, Turkey

11. Dr Yasir Qadhi, The Islamic Seminary of America

12. Yasemin Yürekli, EMISCO - European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion

13. Dr Shazad Amin, MEND

14. Imran Shah, Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK

15. Dr Asim Qureshi, CAGE

16. Wasim Kempson, The Wise Muslim

17. Ragad Altikriti, Muslim Association of Britain

18. Yahya Birt

19. Imam Yahya Ibrahim, Islamic Community Services

20. Fatih Atmaca, Imam of Balgreen Masjid and Chair of Edinburgh Turkish Community

21. Zahid Akhtar, Documenting Oppression Against Muslims

22. Rafiq ibn Jubair, IlmFeed

23. Fadel Soliman, Bridges Foundation

24. Roshan Muhammed Salih, 5Pillars News

25. Anas Altikriti, The Cordoba Foundation, UK

26. Salman Butt, Islam21c

27. Tasneem Najwa, Nakheel Women's Group

28. Hasib Noor, Founder & Director of The Legacy Institute

29. Samira Sabir, Centrum de Middenweg

30. Oguzhan Yürekli, European Yozgat Federation

31. Dr Mohammed Rafiq Habib, Muslim Council of Scotland

32. Abdul Wahid, Hizb ut Tahrir Britain

33. Shabbir Hassan, Faith Space UK

34. Bilal Ismail, Alkauthar Institute

35. Abdelmonim Elhakim, British Islamic Medical Association

36. Abdur Rashid, UK Islamic Mission

37. Shaykh Bilal Brown, Marifah Institute

38. Abid Khan, Cheadle Mosque

39. Abdullah Patel, Masjid e Umar (Gloucester)

40. Mohammed Farook Kazi, Al-Ansaar Welfare & Education

41. Muhammad Uddin, Newham Muslim Forum

42. Imam Sheikh Mohammad Ismail, United Mosque Council of South Yorkshire and

Jamiat Ulama UK

43. Muhammad Mulla, Masjid-e-Umer (London)

44. Bakhtiar Ahmad, Masjid Salaam

45. Dr Louay Al-Alousi, Masjid-us-Sunnah

46. Omar Hajaj, West London Islamic Cultural Centre

47. Usman Qureshi, Norbury Muslim Centre

48. Nayeem Haque, Muslim Youth Network

49. Nicolas Blancho, Islamic Central Council of Switzerland

50. Muhammad Jalal, The Thinking Muslim Podcast

51. Firdosa Akhter, Aligarh Muslim University

52. Amanj Aziz, Nyans Muslim (Sweden)

53. Muhammad Delair, Madinatul Uloom

54. Rahma Bavelaar, Meld Islamofobie/Report Islamophobia (Netherlands)

55. Mohammed Lockhat, The Peace Centre

56. Dr. Aysha Wazwa, Gems of Light

57. Yusuf Ríos, Islamic Learning Foundation (Chicago USA)

58. Fahmi Adzha, International Islamic Federation Of Student Organizations (Turkey)

59. Tahir Alam, Muslim Parents Association

60. Dr. Maria Saleemi, Lahore College for Women University (Pakistan)

61. Ismail Kamdar, Islamic Self Help

62. Bilal Ismail, Imam Development Program

63. Yacoob Hafejee, Madrasah Taleemul Islam

64. Syed N Hoque, As-Subah Academy

65. Muhammad Mustaqeem Shah, Al Istiqāmah

66. Abul Barakat Monawar Hasan, Centre for Islamic Guidance UK

67. Zainulabedin Amir, Woodfarm Education Centre

68. Hashim Gora, Al Hashim academy

69. Abdallah Mohamed Elsaeidy, Hamad Medical Corporation Doha (Qatar)

Source: TRT World