Friday prayer was canceled last Friday in Bègles. For several weeks residents have reported over two hundred cars coming from throughout Aquitaine to attend Friday prayer. The prayer room was identified has harboring radical Islamist and the phenomenon appeared to be growing.
Fifteen police officers arrived and arrested a 30 year-old man reported to be a self-proclaimed Salafist on social media. Originally from Bègles where he was a town employee, he had been radicalized for several years and was attempting to radicalize the town’s young Muslims.
Before the police operation, the mayor of Bègles decided to respond. Following years of administrative dysfunction, mayor Noel Mamère took over the building and handed the keys to the Muslim Federation of Gironde, led by the imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou. A new imam, Yzid Abdelrrim, presented as “open to the principles of laicite,” will lead next Friday’s prayers.