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France closes down another mosque for six months

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PARIS: French authorities have shut down another mosque for a period of six-month for allegedly defending radical Islam.

The Al Farouk Mosque in Pessac district near the city of Bordeaux was closed for allegedly defending “radical Islam” and “spreading Salafist ideology,” the Gironde governorate said in a statement on Monday.

The statement accused mosque authorities of giving sermons calling for non-compliance with French laws and legitimising terrorist attacks.

It also accused them of spreading messages containing hate against Israel as well as supporting terrorist organisations or people who defend “radical Islam.”

In August, France’s highest constitutional authority approved a controversial “anti-separatism” law that has been criticised for singling out Muslims, striking down just two of its articles.

France has been criticised by international organisations and NGOs, especially the UN, for targeting and marginalising Muslims with the law.

The “anti-separatism” bill was passed by the National Assembly in July, despite strong opposition from both rightist and leftist lawmakers.

The government claims that the law is intended to strengthen France’s secular system, but critics believe that it restricts religious freedom and marginalises Muslims.

The law has been criticised for targeting France’s Muslim community the largest in Europe, with 3.35 million members – and imposing restrictions on many aspects of their lives.

It allows officials to intervene in mosques and associations responsible for their administration as well as control the finances of Muslim-affiliated associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

It also restricts the educational choices of Muslims by making home-schooling subject to official permission.

Under the law, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctors based on gender for religious or other reasons, and “secularism education” has been made compulsory for all civil servants.

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