• France's news in English
Illegal Koranic 'school' found hidden in French mosque
The Al-Islah mosque in Villiers-sur-Marne. Photo: GoogleMaps

Illegal Koranic 'school' found hidden in French mosque

The Local · 1 Sep 2016, 14:19

Published: 01 Sep 2016 14:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The unregistered "school", was discovered when police raised a mosque in Villiers-sur-Marne on Wednesday morning, reported Le Parisien newspaper
The school, located on the first floor of the mosque, is understood to have held Koran classes for between 15 and 20 children each day, all between the ages of six and 12.
The children were "at risk of indoctrination", the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Local prosecutors added they were in danger of "being turned into jihadist recruits".
Three men including the Imam were arrested, and authorities are looking into whether they are legally allowed to live in France.
The ministry said that the case was just part of the government's "determination to fight radical Islamism in by every means possible within the law". 
The illegal school, "L'école des Petites Abeilles" or "The Little Bees School", is reported to have been set up around two years ago.

Saïd Merabet, a spokesperson for the Al-Islah mosque, said: “We rented the school a big room on the first floor, but we were under the impression that everything was in order; three or four teachers took turns to teach class.

“We’re low on funds. Renting out that classroom allowed us to pay the mosque’s electricity bill.”

However one local official described the existence of the mosque as somewhat of an open secret, that just needed verifying by the raid.

Wednesday's raid, which involved around 40 police officers according to France 3, was prompted by an investigation into the mosque itself.
Story continues below…
Le Figaro newspaper reported that the Al-Islah mosque was attended by twelve people with convictions for their jihadist ties to Syria.  
Merabet said: “People speak a lot of nonsense about our mosque, which is demoralising. We’re not radical Islamists. Every Friday, our imam preaches about the need to fight extremism.”
A spokesperson for the local town hall said that the raid was carried out with the cooperation of the leaders of the mosque.
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available