(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/27/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to condemn and address actions targeting mosques in France and India that are facing Islamophobic government policies and – as in India – attacks.
In India, a mosque was vandalized, and shops and houses were attacked during a Hindu group’s rally on Tuesday. Those attacks are a continuation of widespread targeting of Indian Muslims and their institutions throughout that nation since the rise of extremist Hindu nationalism.
Tripura: Mosque Vandalised, Shops and Houses Attacked During VHP Rally
India: Government Policies, Actions Target Minorities (Human Rights Watch)
In France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced on Tuesday that the government plans to close seven more mosques and associations across the country by the end of 2021. The minister bragged that some 13 Muslim associations have been closed since President Emmanuel Macron took office.
SEE: France Shuts Down Allonnes Mosque, Plans to Close 7 More: Darmanin
In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:
“We condemn the targeting of houses of worship, whether by discriminatory government policies or physical attacks. Secretary Blinken must call on the governments of India and France to stop actively or tacitly targeting Muslims and their institutions. The United States and other governments must hold India and France accountable.”
Earlier this month, CAIR called on President Joe Biden to condemn the French government’s latest act of state sanctioned Islamophobic discrimination – by responding to the French Council of Ministers’ forced closure of the last major French Muslim civil rights organization combatting Islamophobia.
SEE: CAIR Urges Biden to Condemn France’s Forced Closure of Last Major French Muslim Civil Rights Organization
CAIR maintains a travel advisory warning for American Muslims against traveling to France amid the French government’s “hypocritical and dangerous” campaign of Islamophobic bigotry targeting French Muslims, mosques, and Islamic organizations.
In September, CAIR condemned a ruling by France’s top administrative court, the Council of State, upholding the government’s December 2020 dissolution of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). CCIF was that nation’s leading Muslim civil rights organization defending French Muslims from discrimination.
NOTE: CCIF has reconstituted in another European country and continues to track anti-Muslim bigotry in France.
Late last year, CAIR offered office space and logistical resources in its Capitol Hill headquarters in Washington, D.C., to CCIF, which was falsely accused of spreading “Islamist propaganda.” In fact, CCIF’s main function is monitoring growing Islamophobia in France.
In October 2020, CAIR on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIFR) to investigate France’s ongoing campaign of “collective punishment” against the French Muslim community, as well as France’s longstanding history of turning anti-religious bigotry into government policy.
Over the past 20 years, France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit and punish the free exercise of religion, especially among Muslims. France has dismissed Islamic religious leaders and banned students, teachers, and public servants from wearing visible signs of their faith, including hijabs, at school or at work.
French law also forbids people from wearing religious face veils in public, while simultaneously requiring them to wear medical face masks. Muslim women in some areas of France have also been fined by police for wearing full-body swimsuits.
Last year, President of France Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech about the French Muslim community in which he claimed that “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country” and has expressed concern of “Islamic separatism” and called to “liberate” Islam.
In the past two years, the French government enacted a series of anti-Muslim measures that violated the rights of religious freedom of French Muslims. Despite not having any evidence, Darmanin crackdown on hundreds of mosques and civil society organizations suspected of “separatism.”
Darmanin has also stated that foreign families that disagree with the display of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in schools might face deportation. Macron’s government, which supposedly values freedom of speech, has created a double standard by singling out French Muslims and questioning their legitimacy as French citizens. Macron is also forced a body of Muslim leaders into accepting a charter of “Republican Values” to prove their loyalty to France.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, e-Mitchell@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com