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France

Islamophobia in France on the rise, Muslim group claims

media CFCM president Abdallah Zekri AFP

Islamophobia is on the rise in France, according to figures released by the French Muslim umbrella group, CFCM. Attacks and insults perpetrated against Muslims went 22 per cent in the first nine months of this year, the group says, and it fears that there will be more ahead of next year’s general election.

Citing Interior Ministry figures, the CFCM says that 115 cases were reported to the police between the beginning of January and the end of September.

But they are a gross underestimate, according to CFCM president Abdallah Zekri, because victims are often loath to go to the authorities.

“We can say that the rise, according to statistics we have, is about 50-55 per cent,” he told a press conference in Paris Thursday.

The figures cover profanation of cemeteries and mosques, physical attacks, insults, provocations and burning or profanation of the Koran.

Zekri called on Interior Minister Claude Guéant to put pressure on the police to “arrest at least some of the people who have committed these acts”, expressing frustration that vandals who attacked cemeteries have not been identified.

At between four and six million, France’s Muslim population is the largest in Europe.

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