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France sees huge drop in anti-Muslim acts and threats

France has seen a massive drop in the number of anti-Islam acts, according to the National Observatory against Islamophobia, although Muslim leaders sounded a note of caution.

France sees huge drop in anti-Muslim acts and threats
Photo: AFP

The number of anti-Islam acts in France has finally fallen after having rocketed in recent years.

New figures from the National Observatory against Islamophobia revealed that in the first three months of 2016, the number of reported anti-Islam acts dropped by 83 percent compared to the first three months of last year.

That drop bucked a recent trend that has saw a huge spike in Islamophobic acts last year.

The observatory found that there were 20 acts recorded in the period this year, compared to 56 in the same period of 2015. There were also 20 threats made, compared to 166 last year.

The report found that the 2016 statistics were in line with the figures from 2014.

2015 saw a massive jump in Islamophobic acts following the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in January. There were several incidents of mosques being attacked as well as individuals being attacked.

There were further shocking anti-Islam incidents following the November terror attacks including one incident that saw protesters burn copies of the Koran at a Muslim prayer room in Corsica.

Despite the fall in the number of anti-Islam acts this year the president of the Observatory called for caution fearing the number could easily rise again.

“We believe that as the future elections approach and given the current political climate, with the declarations of certain politicians, that it is highly likely that the situations may deteriorate and there will be a rise in anti-Muslim acts,” said Abdallah Zekri.

While the numbers may have fallen this year has seen some pretty shocking acts of racism and Islamophobia.

In March two pigs' heads were found Thursday attached to the fence of the Moroccan ambassador's residence in a chic suburb of the French capital, police said.

“The pigs' heads were discovered by security staff on Thursday at 9am. The ambassador was present,” a police source told AFP.

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MUSLIMS

France ‘charges 10 ultra-right suspects over plot to attack Muslims’

French authorities have charged 10 suspected far-right extremists in connection with an alleged plot to attack Muslims, a judicial source said Thursday.

France 'charges 10 ultra-right suspects over plot to attack Muslims'
File photo: RAID police officers
The nine men and one woman aged 32 to 69 were arrested in raids across France on Saturday.
 
The suspects, whose detention was extended late Monday for a further 48 hours, had an “ill-defined plan to commit a violent act targeting people of the Muslim faith,” one source close to the probe said previously.
 
They appeared before a judge on Wednesday evening and were charged with “criminal terrorist conspiracy”, the source said.

   
Several were also charged with violations of firearms laws and the manufacture or possession of explosive devices.
 
Police have linked the ten to a little-known group called Action des Forces Operationnelles (Operational Forces Action), which urges French people to 
combat Muslims, or what it calls “the enemy within”.
 
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Police outside the home of Guy S., the alleged leader of a group linked with the ultra right 'AFO' . Photo: AFP

Rifles, handguns and homemade grenades were found during searches in the Paris area, the Mediterranean island of Corsica and the western Charentes-Maritimes region.  

Prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday that 36 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were seized, as well as items in one suspect's home that 
could be used in the manufacture of TATP explosives.
 
The suspects include a retired police officer, identified only as Guy S., who was the alleged leader of the group, according to a source close to the investigation. The group also includes a former soldier.
   
France remains on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks which have killed more than 240 people since 2015.
   
Officials have urged people not to confuse the actions of radicalised individuals with those of France's estimated six million Muslims — but anti-Islamic violence is on the rise.
   
The “Guerre de France” (War for France) website of the shadowy Operational Forces Action depicts an apocalyptic battle scene under the Eiffel Tower, and claims to prepare “French citizen-soldiers for combat on national territory” (see image below).
 
  
France's TF1 television has said the group planned to target radicalised imams and Islamist prisoners after their release from jail, as well as veiled women in the street chosen at random.
   
France registered 72 violent anti-Muslim acts last year, up from 67 in 2016.

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