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No link between extremism and Islam, says French PM

There are some 2,500 mosques in France, with another 300 projects underway, but creating new Muslim places of worship has sometimes prompted fierce opposition from local residents.



By (AFP)

Published: Tue 16 Jun 2015, 10:48 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:58 PM

Paris — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stressed on Monday there was no link between extremism and Islam, as he opened a conference aimed at improving ties with France’s large Muslim community.

“We must say all of this is not Islam,” said Valls.

Five months after the attacks in Paris that killed 17 people and shocked the world, the government plans to hold a series of meetings with top officials from the roughly five million-strong Muslim community, the largest in Europe.

The first forum — expected to be attended by between 120-150 Muslim community leaders as well as top government officials and ministers — will debate security at religious sites, the image of Islam in the media and the building of new mosques.

There are some 2,500 mosques in France, with another 300 projects underway, but creating new Muslim places of worship has sometimes prompted fierce opposition from local residents.

In one case, the mayor of the Parisian suburb Mantes-la-Ville, who belongs to France’s far-right National Front party, has repeatedly tried to halt a project to turn a city-owned site into a mosque.

The president of a leading French Muslim organisation told the forum it was time for the government to act. France has seen a spike in reports of anti-Muslim acts since the attacks in January.

“Today the situation calls for renewed attention from public powers. This forum is an opportunity for us to express our discomfort with being lumped together” with radicals, said Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Muslim Council. — AFP


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