Muslim groups and French authorities were quick to express their condemnation after it was discovered on Sunday that vandals sprayed Nazi graffiti and left a pig’s head on the building site of a planned mosque, branding the attack as “Islamophobic” and “racist”.
Construction on the site of the planned mosque, in Meaux, a town in the Seine-et-Marne department near Paris, is due to be completed in July.
Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory on Islamophobia told French daily Le Parisien he felt nauseated “when confronted by people who continue to desecrate places of worship”.
Mayor of Meaux, Franck Riester condemned the attacks as “unacceptable”, adding: “We must try to calm tensions and respect every citizen, whatever their religion.”
“Muslims have been practicing in unfit conditions,” he continued, “in a room in the town’s old abattoirs. We are renting this land to them so they can build a hall.”
The offensive graffiti is the latest in a spate of abuse directed at Muslims and mosques in France in recent months.
In February it was reported that red swastikas had been daubed on the wall of a mosque in a town near Paris. Six swastikas were drawn on the front of the mosque at Provins, in the Seine et Marne department outside the French capital.
The symbols at the Provins mosque were discovered by worshipers when they turned up for morning prayers.
The attack came just a week after several mosques across France were also targeted with similar Islamophobic graffiti.
In an interview with The Local following the attack, Marwan Muhammad from the Collective against Islamophobia in France blamed the current anti-Muslim climate in France for the recent attacks.
“Muslims are being stigmatized and presented as a problem in France,” he told The Local. “Negative signals are being sent out by politicians, including those on the left, and this helps to empower people to take action.
“Police need to find them and punish them in the strongest way possible. They need to send a message that people cannot get away with this," said Muhammad.