France boosts security at places of worship after New Zealand mosque attack

France's Interior Minister ordered police around the country to step up patrols at places of worship and increase security in the wake of the deadly attacks against two mosques in New Zealand on Friday.

France boosts security at places of worship after New Zealand mosque attack
Muslims gather at the Grande Mosquee de Paris. Photo: AFP
Christophe Castaner ordered prefects “to use the utmost vigilance” and asked them “to strengthen the surveillance of places of worship in our country” on Twitter. 
“Patrols will be provided near religious spaces,” he added. 
Castaner also condemned the attacks and sent his sympathies to the victims. 
“Solidarity with the people of New Zealand grieving over the heinous terrorist attack in Christchurch. My first thoughts go to the relatives and families of the victims whose emotion and sadness we share. Support to the New Zealand police who are committed against hatred and barbarism.”
French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the “odious crimes against the mosques of Christchurch in New Zealand” that have so far left 49 dead. 
Head of the former National Front party – now National Rally (Rassemblement National), Marine Le Pen also condemned the attacks.
“Terrorist attacks are the worst acts of cowardice imaginable. They must be ruthlessly suppressed wherever they occur and whatever their sordid motivation, and all the victims and their families must be unanimously supported and defended.”
The UK has also announced heightened security measures around places of worship.
One of the gunmen — believed to be an Australian extremist — livestreamed the deadly assault, stoking outrage and fear that others may be targeted in copy-cat attacks.


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French minster orders closure of Cannes mosque over anti-Semitic remarks

France's interior minister said on Wednesday he had ordered the closure of a mosque on the French Riviera because of anti-Semitic remarks made there.

The French riviera town of Cannes
The French riviera town of Cannes. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Gerald Darmanin said the mosque in the seaside city of Cannes was also guilty of supporting CCIF and BarakaCity, two associations that the government dissolved at the end of last year for spreading “Islamist” propaganda.

Darmanin told broadcaster CNews that he had consulted with the mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, before shutting down the mosque.

The move comes two weeks after authorities closed a mosque in the north of the country because of what they said was the radical nature of its imam’s preaching.

The mosque in Beauvais, a town of 50,000 people some 100 kilometres north of Paris, was shut for six months because the sermons there incited hatred and violence and “defend jihad”, authorities said.

Last October, a mosque in Allonnes, 200 kilometres west of Paris, was closed also for six months for sermons defending armed jihad and “terrorism”, according to regional authorities.

The French government announced last year that it would step up checks of places of worship and associations suspected of spreading radical Islamic propaganda.

The crackdown came after the October 2020 murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was targeted following an online campaign against him for having shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a civics class.

In the interview on Wednesday, the interior minister said that 70 mosques in France were considered to be “radicalised”.

According to the ministry, there are a total of 2,623 mosques and Muslim prayer halls in the country.