Attack on Bayonne’s mosque: the state must act concretely to protect Muslims


We were astonished to learn that an attack took place on Monday, the 28 of October, against Bayonne’s mosque.

The platform L.E.S. Musulmans would like to express its deep solidarity with the two faithful, aged 74 and 78, who were seriously injured by gunshot and wishes them a quick recovery. Our thoughts are also with their families and, beyond the mosque, the entire Muslim community of Bayonne.

Today, no one can ignore the fact that the criminalization of religious practices through speeches carried out by certain political figures, as well as the banalization of overtly Islamophobic remarks broadcast with complacency by many media outlets, can lead to violent acts.

In 2019 alone, more than a dozen acts of Islamophobia targeted places of worship, including the attack on June 27 in front of the mosque in Brest, which nearly took the life of Imam Rachid Eljay. This week too, Thursday 25 and Sunday 27 October, swastikas were discovered on the site of a mosque in Charleville-Mézières. Also, in September, in the Rhone region, a mother wearing a hijab was the victim of a knife attack in middle of the street.

The media’s treatment of these racist acts, the timid condemnations of the government, as well as the absence of strong decisions to fight anti-Muslim hatred, contribute to a denial of the harsh reality lived by Muslims in France.

Once again, the platform L.E.S. Musulmans demands that Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Christophe Castaner, Minister of the Interior, fully appreciate the urgency of the situation and act concretely for the safety of mosques as well as that of Muslim personalities and imams targeted daily by racist speech and threats. The public authorities, who are well aware of the terrorist risk faced by Muslims in France, must take their responsibilities.

Finally, it is urgent that the state clarify its position when it comes to the editorial choices made by some news outlets that are using anti-Muslim hatred as a commercial argument. The law must be enforced and these media needs to be sanctioned when they exceed freedom of expression and instead fuel hatred. Those that encourage someone to commit a crime should not be allowed to hide behind the right to blasphemy or to the criticism of religions when they endanger millions of women, men and children of our country.

Paris, Monday, October 28, 2019

The platform “L.E.S. Musulmans”