A leading French anti-racism observatory warned of an unprecedented increase in Islamophobic attacks in France during the first three months of the year, rising by six-fold than in 2014.
“Never since the establishment of the Observatory in 2011 have Islamophobic acts known such an implosion of actions or threats, especially on social networks Abdallah Zekri, head of the Observatory said in a statement cited by Anadolu Agency on Thursday, April 16.
According to Zekri, Islamophobic actions soared by 500% compared to the same period in 2011.
He added that out of 222 anti-Muslims acts in the first quarter of 2015, the total number of documented attacks was 56, while 166 were identified as threats.
The observatory also noted that more than 222 separate acts of anti-Muslim behavior were recorded in the first month after the January attacks.The situation for French Muslims has been deteriorating recently, especially after Paris attacks killed 17 civilians. Following the attacks, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia said over 100 incidents have been reported to the police since the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 7-9. The rise in attacks over the last two weeks represents an increase of 110% over the whole of January 2014, the organization said.
Moreover, a Muslim father was stabbed to death at his own home in southern France last January by a neighbor who claimed to be avenging Charlie Hebdo.
“This is simply racism and rejection of men and women who aspire to just be respected,” said Zekri while citing attacks against Muslim women and mosques in the European country.
“Does the motto of the Republic ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ make any sense? Unfortunately, the question (must be asked),” added Zekri.
Condemning the rise of the anti-Muslim attacks in France, Zekri argued that the latest terror attacks cannot be used as a pretext to justify Islamophobia.
“However, those horrific and terrifying crimes cannot justify, under any circumstances, the steep rise of hatred or revenge against Muslims in France,” stressed Zekri.
“They [Muslims of France] are not responsible or guilty of committing these terrorist acts that devastated the country.”
Zekri also criticized what has been viewed as resounding political silence on the issue.
“All this happens without any reaction from politicians, who, instead of denouncing, try to find excuses,” he stated.
A day after the Islamophobia report, France’s prime minister unveiled plans to pour €100 million (RM391 million) into efforts to fight racism.
“Racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners, homophobia are increasing in an unbearable manner,” Manuel Valls said in the Paris suburb city of Creteil, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
France is home to a Muslim minority of seven million, Europe’s largest. Seeing the Charlie Hebdo attack as a betrayal of Islamic faith, leaders from Muslim countries and organizations have joined worldwide condemnation of the attack, saying the attackers should not associate their actions with Islam.
Later on, French Muslims called for criminalizing insulting religions amid increasing anger around the Muslim world over Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish new cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.