The Islamophobic act coincides with the long-awaited trial of suspects in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
Rabat – The city of Tabres, in southwestern France, woke up this morning to an act of Islamophobia, with anti-Islam tags on the walls of a local mosque.
The hate-fueled vandalism aroused condemnation among some French officials, including the minister of interior and the mayor of the city.
France’s Interior Minister, Gerard Darmanin, denounced the “disgusting” act in a tweet. “These acts have no place in our Republic,” he emphasized.
The hateful display coincides with the trial of suspects in the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris, which killed 12 staff members.
French authorities previously identified the two shooters as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, French Muslim brothers of Algerian descent. The trial that began today concerns 14 suspected accomplices.
The mayor of the city of Tarbes, Gerard Tremege, expressed in a tweet his “outrage” over the “heinous acts of desecration,” and addressed support to Tarbes’ Muslim community.
En ce jour d'ouverture du procès des attentats contre #CharlieHebdo et l'#HyperCacher je suis indigné par ces actes odieux de profanation. J'adresse toutes mes pensées et mon soutien à la communauté musulmane tarbaise, profondément heurtée ce matin. https://t.co/pUDcTIdDB1
— Gérard Trémège (@GerardTremege) September 2, 2020
Tremege also recalled similar tags on another mosque in Tarbes “a few years ago.”
The official stressed that the mosques are places of worship located in an “open, welcoming and tolerant city,” according to the French Press Agency (AFP).
Observers speculate that France’s long-awaited trial of suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attacks is behind today’s act of Islamophobia. The act also coincides with the magazine’s dissemination of a special edition, depicting Prophet Muhammad through 13 caricatures.
The editorial team of the magazine said: “Reproducing these cartoons this week of the opening of the January 2015 terrorist attacks seemed essential to us.”
Anti-Islam and hate tags on buildings are not the only fairly common expression of Islamophobia in France. Attacks against Muslims are also relatively frequent.
The French Ministry of Interior recorded 154 islamophobic acts and threats in 2019, representing an increase of 54% compared to 2018.
The ministry revealed in January that France saw 63 acts of Islamophobia in 2019, including theft or physical violence against people or property.
The ministry called the other 91 Islamophobic attacks “threats,” such as gestures, pamphlets, or graffiti.
In 2019, two mosques experienced shootings, one in Brest, in western France, and one in Bayonne, near the Spanish border. The shootings resulted in two injuries and no fatalities.