Saturday, December 26, 2015
Mosque vandalized in Corsica, France
A crowd of French Christians vandalized a Muslim prayer hall and set fire to copies of the Qur'an in a mosque on the French island of Corsica. The violence came on Friday amid heightened security measures for the Christmas holiday, and nationwide fears after the November 13 attacks in Paris killed 130 people.
On Friday afternoon around 150 hoodlums had gathered in front of the prefecture and headed for the low-income housing estate where violence took place the night before when some firefighters were attacked by some "hooded youths". They shouted slogans in Corsican meaning "Arabs get out!" and "This is our home!"
Nearby, a small group smashed the glass door to the mosque, ransacked the prayer hall and partially burned books including copies of the Qur'an, said regional official Francois Lalanne.
"Fifty prayer books were thrown out on the street," Lalanne said, adding that some of the pages were burnt.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith denounced the violence and pointed to the timing of the attack on Friday "on a day of prayer for both Muslims and Christians".
This year Christmas falls just after the Muslim feast day commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack showed signs of "racism and xenophobia".
He also condemned the assault on law enforcement and safety officers in Corsica.
It should be noted that the far-right, anti-immigrant, racist and bigot National Front made unprecedented gains in the first round of the vote in Corsica.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls wrote on Twitter that the break-in in the city of Ajaccio was "an unacceptable desecration".
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