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Two mosque fires in Lyon within a week

28th Aug 2020
Two mosque fires in Lyon within a week

Photo credit Anadolu Agency

Nadine Osman

Muslim leaders in the French Alp city of Lyon say far-right groups are “terrorizing” the community following arson attacks on two mosques in the space of a week.

The first suspected arson attack occurred on August 7, after a fire was started in an annexe to the prayer room of a mosque in the town Bron, a week later in the early hours of August 13, the door, entrance and prayer room of Essalam Prayer Hall was damaged in a second fire.

‘This is the second mosque that has burnt in ten days. People deplore the fact that places of worship are vandalized,’ tweeted the Mayor the 2nd District Pierre Oliver.

He added, ‘The fire would seem to be criminal, according to the first information given to me by the fire-fighters and the police. We are awaiting the first elements of the investigation.’

The Mayor applauded the fire-fighters who doused the blaze that started at 2.16 am. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin condemned the attacks, ‘These stupid and hateful acts are contrary to everything that is France. I will protect freedom of worship,’ he tweeted.

The Secretary-General of the mosque, Abderrazak Chenini, said he will file a complaint with authorities.

Speaking to Franceinfo Radio Farouk Korichi, of the Rhone Mosques Council said the arsonists “want to terrorize us.

There is no doubt that these are organized crimes. There are a lot of extreme right-wing groups in the region. On Facebook, there are groups calling for the burning of mosques.”

A spokesman for the French Muslim Council said, “We are hoping that the video surveillance system in front of the mosque will help clarify the circumstances of the fire and identify the authors.”

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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