French police searched a mosque in a suburb of Paris earlier this week, hoping to find clues that would lead to the capture of Islamic extremists connected to Friday's deadly gun and bombing attacks. But after they found nothing implicating members of the mosque, they left the place “ransacked” without any explanation or apology, according to a France 24 report.
Police entered the mosque called La Fratérnité in Aubervilliers just after midnight Monday, leaving behind damaged computers, overturned furniture and bookshelves, and punctured ceilings. Sofiènne Karroumi, vice mayor of Aubervilliers and member of a local Muslim group that runs the mosque, was one of the first people to witness the damage after the police search.
— Gaelle Faure (@gjfaure) November 19, 2015
“I am outraged to see the state of the mosque after the search that took place tonight,” Karroumi said in a statement posted to Facebook. “I don’t understand why this sacred place was so relentlessly ransacked. Muslims have nothing to do with what happened Friday night and are just as shocked as the rest of France.”
The Aubervilliers vice mayor posted several photographs to Facebook showing how police broke through a door’s glass window pane, despite mosque leaders having offered them the keys. “I don’t understand why the police acted this way,” Karroumi said.
He added that “nobody is against the police carrying out searches,” but the blatant disrespect for the mosque should warrant legal action against the police. Criminal lawyer Martine Moscovic told France 24 the police raid at the mosque was not illegal and laws do not provide recourse for damages caused during police searches.
Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, nearly 300 searches have been carried out by authorities in France, according to media reports. At least seven assailants associated with Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, who had European citizenship, were implicated in the attacks that left 129 dead and more than 350 others wounded.