Four mosques in France have been closed after many people who attended them reportedly joined extremist movements. The places of worship, French officials said Wednesday, promoted violence and ideologies that ran contrary to French values.
The closures were made via a national state of emergency that was initiated following terrorist attacks, including one in November of last year in Paris that killed 130 people plus the seven terrorist attackers.
“Under the guise of ritual ceremonies, these places [harbored] meetings aimed at promoting radical ideology, [which is] contrary to the values of the [French] Republic and may constitute a serious risk to security and public order,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. He said that the mosques had spread “hatred and violence.”
The interior minister also reaffirmed the country’s commitment to “allow the peaceful coexistence of all [places of] worship in compliance with the laws of the Republic,” the Express Tribune reported.
France has been at the front of anti-Islamic sentiment in the Western world following the attacks in Paris and elsewhere in the country. Following those attacks, the country has seen fear and anger rise between Muslims and members of a far-right political party that has called for bans on immigrants and asylum seekers coming from Syria and war torn parts of the Middle East.
The crackdown on the four mosques comes after a July announcement that the government was considering a temporary ban on foreign financing for mosques.
France has taken several measures recently that encroach on the private lives of Muslims. This year, the country has made headlines for an aggressive push back on so-called burkinis, which are a form of swimming suit with a headscarf that covers most of the body. Women using public transportation, walking the streets or using hospitals have also been banned from wearing headscarves, a prominent part of Muslim women’s religious outfits.
There are some 2,500 mosques in France.