France considering to ban foreign funding of mosques

France considering to ban foreign funding of mosques

Paris, July 29 (IANS) Following recent terror attacks, the French government is considering a ban on foreign financing of mosques in the country, the media reported on Friday.

According to Le Monde, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the prohibition would be for an indefinite period but gave no further details.

“There needs to be a thorough review to form a new relationship with French Islam,” he added.

“We live in a changed era and we must change our behaviour. This is a revolution in our security culture… the fight against radicalisation will be the task of a generation,” the Independent quoted Valls as saying.

France was “at war” and further atrocities were predicted, Valls said, following the murder of a priest at a church in Normandy and the attack in Nice in Grench Riveira by Islamic State supporters.

“This war, which does not concern only France, will be long and we will see more attacks,” the Prime Minister said. “But we will win, because France has a strategy to win this war. First, we must crush the external enemy.”

The French government has come under increasing criticism for failing to prevent atrocities, including the attack in a Normandy church.

Security services were tipped off that Abdel Malik Petitjean, 19, was planning an attack but police were reportedly unable to identify him from photos and a video showing him declaring allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, the Independent reported.

He was already on country’s “fiche S” terror watch list — an indicator used by France law enforcement apparatus to signal an individual considered to be a serious threat to national security. He attempted to travel to Syria in June but was intercepted by Turkish authorities and forced to return to France.

Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, 19, took six people hostage at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy and slit the throat of its priest, Father Jacques Hamel. Both were shot dead by police.

Kermiche was also known to security services and was wearing an electronic surveillance tag while on bail as he awaited trial for membership of a terror organisation at the time.

It came less than a fortnight after the Nice attack, when a Tunisian man killed 84 persons and injured over 300 when he ploughed a lorry into crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was not among the 10,000 names on the “fiche S” but the inclusion of terrorists — among them, several of the Paris attackers, the two Charlie Hebdo gunmen and their accomplice Amedy Coulibaly, as well as a lorry driver who beheaded his manager and attempted to blow up a chemical plant — has shown the system to be ineffective, said the Independent.

Intelligence officials have admitted that they are under-resourced to deal with the potential threat from each individual, who would need up to 20 people monitoring them every day.

France’s continuing state of emergency has drastically expanded security forces’ detention powers, sparking a wave of controversial house arrests since November.

Responding to criticism, Valls said his government would not create a “French Guantanamo” or be swayed by populism.

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