French Interior Ministry Reverses Decision to Close Radical Mosque in Cannes
The French interior ministry on Tuesday reversed a decision ordering the closure of a mosque in the riviera city of Cannes that was identified as a hotbed of Islamist agitation.
The ministry waived what was termed the “administrative closure” of the Al Madina Al Mounawara mosque ordered by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin in January. An investigation by the local Alpes-Maritimes prefecture determined that the mosque’s current management had demonstrated “it had completely cut ties with the previous rector and taken over the management of the mosque’s Facebook page. The guarantees provided were deemed sufficient.”
Ahmed Guessoum — who replaced the previous imam, Mustapha Dali, at the head of the mosque — told the AFP news agency that the reversal of Darmanin’s decision was “wise and just.”
Guessoum said that the interior ministry had “quickly understood that it was inappropriate to close the mosque and deprive the 600 worshipers of their place of prayer.”
Darmanin’s original decision said the mosque was “responsible for antisemitic remarks” and for “support for the CCIF (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) and BarakaCity,” two radical Islamist groups.
A statement from the Cannes municipality on the day the closure was announced noted that “the vast majority of Muslims who frequent this very old mosque do not share its orientation; some also alerted us.” It expressed hope that “new leaders respectful of the French Republic and the country” would emerge, allowing the mosque to reopen.
Separately, a mosque in the suburbs of the southern city of Bordeaux was shuttered by the French authorities on Monday, after it was accused of promoting “radical Islam” and “Salafist ideology.”
Local prefect Fabienne Buccio said that the Al Farouk mosque was a location for the “dissemination of hateful propaganda against Israel.” The mosque also “condemns those Muslims who do not share its rigid view of Islam,” Buccio said.