France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on extremism after the killing and beheading of a school teacher. (AFP)
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Updated 29 October 2020

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’
  • Government spokesman says France 'will never renounce its principles and values'
  • Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on extremism after the killing and beheading of a school teacher

PARIS: France will continue its fight against Islamic extremism despite criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and will not give in to “destabilization and intimidation attempts,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday.
France “will never renounce its principles and values,” Attal said after a cabinet meeting, underscoring “a strong European unity” behind its stance against Islamic violence after the beheading of a French teacher on October 16.
The history teacher, Samuel Paty, was killed while walking home from his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old after a social media campaign criticized him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.
His killing prompted an outpouring of anger in France, which has faced a wave of jihadist attacks since the January 2015 massacre of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The paper, which had drawn the ire of Muslims worldwide after publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, republished the images last month to mark the opening of a trial for suspected accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron mounted a staunch defense of France’s secular tradition after Paty’s killing, and vowed to crack down on Islamic radicalism, in particular by closing mosques suspected of fomenting extremist ideas.
That prompted Erdogan to accuse Macron of unfairly targeting France’s Muslim community, and fueled the latest diplomatic spat between the two NATO allies in recent months.
Charlie Hebdo further inflamed Turkish critics Wednesday after it ran a front-page cartoon of Erdogan that portrayed him drinking a beer in his underwear, while lifting the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
“Ooh, the prophet!” the character says in a speech bubble, while the title proclaims “Erdogan: in private, he’s very funny.”


France targets mosques in extremism crackdown

Updated 03 December 2020

France targets mosques in extremism crackdown

France targets mosques in extremism crackdown
  • Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that if any of the 76 prayer halls inspected were found to promote extremism they would be closed down
  • Inspections are part of France’s response to two attacks — the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty and the killing of three people in a Nice church

PARIS: French authorities will inspect dozens of mosques and prayer halls suspected of radical teachings starting Thursday as part of a crackdown on extremists following a spate of attacks, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Darmanin told RTL radio that if any of the 76 prayer halls inspected was found to promote extremism they would be closed down.

The inspections are part of the government’s response to two brutal recent attacks that shocked France — the October 16 beheading of a teacher who showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and the stabbing to death of three people in a church in Nice on October 29.

Darmanin did not reveal which places of worship would be inspected. In a note he sent to regional security chiefs, seen by AFP, he cites 16 addresses in the Paris region and 60 others around the country.

On Twitter Wednesday he said the mosques were suspected of “separatism” — a term President Emmanuel Macron has used to describe ultraconservative Muslims closing themselves off from French society by, for example, enrolling their children in underground schools or forcing young girls to wear the Muslim headscarf.

The rightwing minister told RTL the fact that only a fraction of the around 2,600 Muslim places of worship in France were suspected of peddling radical theories showed “we are far from a situation of widespread radicalization.”

“Nearly all Muslims in France respect the laws of the Republic and are hurt by that (radicalization),” he said.
The killing of teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown his pupils cartoons of Mohammad in a class on free speech, at a school outside Paris sent shockwaves through France, where it was seen as an attack on the republic itself.

In the aftermath of his murder the authorities raided dozens of associations, sports groups and charities suspected of promoting extremism.
They also ordered the temporary closure of a large mosque in the Paris suburb of Pantin that had shared a vitriolic video lambasting Paty.

The government has also announced plans to step up the deportations of illegal migrants on radicalization watchlists.
Darmanin said that 66 of 231 foreigners on a watchlist had been expelled, around 50 others had been put in migrant detention centers and a further 30 had been placed under house arrest.

The minister announced the latest clampdown after receiving fierce criticism for pushing a bill that would make it harder to document police brutality.

Images of officers beating up black music producer Michel Zecler in his studio brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets last weekend against Darmanin’s push to restrict the filming of the police in the new bill.
MPs from Macron’s ruling Republic on the Move party have since announced plans to rewrite the legislation.