Attacks against Muslims in France accelerated in 2019, but the number of attacks remains much lower than attacks against Jews and Christians and racist attacks.
Rabat – France recorded 154 Islamophobic acts and threats in 2019, an increase of 54% from 2018, when there were only 100.
Most of the Islamophobic attacks targeted mosques in France or other religious property. A press release from the French Ministry of the Interior specified that 2019 saw 63 acts of Islamophobia, including theft or physical violence against people or property. The ministry called the other 91 Islamophobic attacks “threats,” such as gestures, pamphlets, or graffiti.
Two French mosques experienced shootings in 2019, one in Brest, western France, and one in Bayonne, near Spain. Both shootings left two people injured.
However, France saw far more anti-Christian and anti-Semitic attacks, the ministry’s press release said on Sunday. The 1,052 attacks against Christians were mostly attacks on religious property, and 56 were threats. The number of attacks was similar to the previous year’s.
While the number of anti-Semitic threats increased 50% from the previous year to 536 in 2019, anti-Semitic actions actually decreased slightly to 151. The ministry also notes that anti-Semitic attacks on people are down by 44%.
The press release came out the day before the world is remembering, on Holocaust Memorial Day, the atrocities of the Holocaust against Jews in the 1930s and 40s.
The press release also provided data on racism and xenophobia. Racist incidents increased sharply, by 130%, from 496 events in 2018 to 1,142 in 2019. The ministry categorized 86% of the racist attacks as threats.
Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner and Secretary of State Laurent Nunez suggested the hate crimes were destructive to France.
“Expressions and acts of hatred, whether they aim at a religious origin or belonging … constitute an intolerable attack on our common project, on the foundations of our social and republican pact,” they said.
Members of the French gendarmerie have received special training in responding to racist attacks and anti-Semitism. The training sought to teach the specialists how to welcome victims to hear their reports.