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CAIR Urges Biden to Condemn France’s Forced Closure of Last Major French Muslim Civil Rights Organization

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today 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.   

Yesterday, right-wing French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced on Twitter that France’s Council of Ministers had dissolved the French anti-racism organization Coordination Against Racism and Islamophobia.  

In a statement, CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:    

“CAIR is calling on President Biden to condemn the French government’s forced closure of the last major French Muslim civil rights organization combatting Islamophobia. The U.S. must condemn this ongoing campaign of French state prosecution of Muslim minorities and the disenfranchisement of Muslim civil society groups, leaders and houses of worship in a political context. 

“The French government’s latest targeting of a French Muslim civil society organization – like Coordination Against Racism and Islamophobia – is a toxic example of how right-wing election year politics threatens the safety and security of all French citizens.   

“The French government’s continued discriminatory targeting of French Muslim civil society organizations and French Muslim leaders is eroding the very foundations of democracy and fraternity in France.”

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.        
 

SEE: CAIR Warns American Muslims Against Travel to France, Condemns Macron’s ‘Hypocritical’ Attempt to Suppress Boycott Campaign       

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.    

SEE: French Court Confirms Dissolution of Anti-Discrimination Group     

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.      

SEE: CAIR Offers DC Office Space to French Muslim Civil Rights Group Closed in Islamophobic Crackdown  

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.     

SEE: CAIR Calls on U.S. Religious Freedom Commission (USCIFR) to Probe France’s Anti-Religion Laws and ‘Collective Punishment’ of French Muslim Community   

BACKGROUNDER:  

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.         

SEE: France closes down Muslim publishing house for promoting Islamic history     

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.    

SEE: France could close almost 80 mosques after deporting dozens of migrants in ‘crackdown on separatism.’  

SEE: France to sue, deport ‘foreign families’ opposing Prophet Muhammad caricatures  

SEE: France’s Macron asks Muslim leaders to back ‘republican values charter’   

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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END     

CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, e-Mitchell@cair.com; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com 

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