The Coordination Committee of Turkish Muslims in France condemned the Islamophobic acts targeting Mosques in the small cities of Montlebon, Pontarlier, and Roubaix.
The statement comes after unknown people painted “Cross of Lorraine” tags on the Mosques late at night on November 6. France 3 said that the vandalism acts targeted the mosques of the Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs, and quoted the president of the Association of Turks of Pontarlieras saying that the vandalism is clearly anti-Muslim given the “symbolism of the cross.”
As the Lorraine cross symbolizes French resistance to Nazi occupation in the 1940s, the report suggested, its use by some activists and sympathizers of far-right causes in France bears echoes of the Islamophobic argument that waves of Muslims are now “invading France” to eventually colonize it.
The Turkish Coordination Committee emphasized the need to “remain united in the nation to avoid odious acts.” He added, “We all need to act quickly to prevent this from happening again. I trust our security forces to quickly find the perpetrators of these acts and to condemn them.” The mayor of Pontellier went to the vandalized mosque in his city to stand in solidarity with the city’s Muslim community, according to France 3.
“We cannot accept that. We must respect each other. It is totally intolerable, unspeakable,” the mayor said of the acts of vandalism. “Unfortunately, we have already seen abuses like these. I do not understand the use of the Cross of Lorraine. It is a symbol of the resistance movement against Nazi occupation. It is very inappropriate to use the cross of Lorraine to mark opposition to Islam.”
Ahead of next year’s presidential elections, France’s deeply divided political landscape has been the theatre of a worrying proliferation of anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric. Similar acts of Islamophobia-inspired vandalism have been recorded in recent months. Earlier this year, Muslims in Rennes expressed frustration after discovering on the walls of their mosque “shocking” tags that were insulting of Islam and holy Prophet (PBUH).
“Catholicism is the state religion” and “no to Islamization” were some of the messages vandals left on the Mosque in Rennes. Despite the growing normalization of such instances of Islamophobia, many observers maintain that the most worrying development has been President Emanuel Macron’s apparent embrace of some far-right talking points on “Islamist separatism” to score national security points in hopes of boosting his re-election campaign.