France’s interior minister on Wednesday announced the closure of a mosque in the southern city of Cannes, citing its promotion of antisemitic hate speech.
In an interview with broadcaster CNews, Gérald Darmanin said that the mosque located in the iconic town on the French Riviera had been shut down because of “antisemitic remarks” and “incitement to hatred.” Several Islamist mosques around France have been closed down during the last year as part of a government campaign against radicalism in the Muslim community.
Darmanin said that the mosque in Cannes had also been closed because of its associations with two Islamist associations that were outlawed following the brutal murder of Paris school teacher Samuel Paty in Oct. 2020.
“We are closing one of the mosques in Cannes because we hold it responsible for antisemitic remarks, support for the CCIF (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) and BarakaCity,” Darmanin said.
Darmanin added that the decision to close the mosque had been made in consultation with the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard.
A statement from the Cannes municipality emphasized that the closure “comes after meticulous research by the State services and multiple reports made directly by the municipality of Cannes since 2015.”
The statement noted that “the vast majority of Muslims who frequent this very old mosque do not share its orientation; some also alerted us.” It expressed hope that “new leaders respectful of the French Republic and the country” would emerge, allowing the mosque to reopen.
According to the interior ministry, of more than 2,500 Muslim centers of worship in France, 70 are considered to be “radicalized.” More than 20 of these have been closed or had their operations temporarily suspended under French government regulations to counter extremism.
Since 2013, there have been 293 deaths resulting from 50 attacks in France by Islamist terrorists, according to research conducted by Fondapol, a Paris-based think-tank.