Anti-Islam acts have increased by 42% compared to the first ten months of 2012, according to a provisional report of the Observatoire contre l’islamophobie. And newly-elected French president, Francois Hollande, has shown no desire to do anything about it.
Islam vs Europe The actual number is likely much higher because it only records actions about which a criminal complaint has been filed or that have appeared in a logbook. In the front line: places of worship and cemeteries. In addition to insulting emails, tags and fire-raising attempts, several have been defiled with heads of pigs or excrement.
“There has been a multiplication and a banalisation of desecrations”, denounces Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Conseil français du Culte musulman (CFCM) [French Council of the Muslim Religion]. The most striking action was the occupation, on 20 October, of the construction site of the Poitiers mosque by a far-right group. “For the first time, people sang warlike anti-Islam slogans openly,” stresses M. Moussaoui. We have reached a new level.”
Dozens of young French activists from the group Generation Identittaire stormed the unfinished mosque to protest immigration policies that have made France home to Europe’s largest population of Muslims.
Faced with these threats, at the beginning of October the CFCM demanded a “solemn declaration” from president François Hollande against the rise in Islamophobia. So far, he has remained silent.
Beyond actions that were clearly Islamophobic, “we have heard an uninhibited discourse, often negative towards Islam”, notes Franck Frégosi, director of research at CNRS and a specialist in Islam in Europe. For him, “what had been an attitude of the far right … is tending to spread like wildfire”. “Phobic sentiments” have been fed by various facts and a tense international context, he says, regretting that fact that some people make use of them “to say that Islam cannot be integrated into the Republic.”