French riot police have arrested Idriss Sihamedi, the president of the Muslim charity BarakaCity, after raiding his home.
According to BarakaCity, Sihamedi was violently beaten and was forcefully handcuffed and insulted. His wife was not allowed to wear her hijab during the incident and their children were threatened and told to keep their hands in the air.
The raid comes after Sihamedi was condemned by many in the French Establishment, including the Interior Minister, due to his vocal opposition to an Islamophobe who worked for Charlie Hebdo.
Simahedi was also trying to organise opposition to President Macron’s new separatism law which critics say targets Islam and Muslims.
BarakaCity said: “Idriss was severely beaten by a police officer who pressed his head against the tiles when he did not resist and was cooperating.”
It’s being reported that Sihamedi was arrested on charges of Twitter harassment after he disclosed “private information” about ex-journalist Zineb El Rhazoui who filed a complaint against him.
The Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin had also recently accused Idriss Sihamedi of advocating terrorism before deleting his tweet.
A few weeks ago Emmanuel Macron announced a law against religious “separatism” aimed at freeing Islam in France from “foreign influences.”
The French president outlined new measures to “defend the Republic and its values and ensure it respects its promises of equality and emancipation.”
The measures to combat “radical Islamism” and terrorism included giving local officials extra legal powers to combat extremism while investing money in education (particularly of Islamic culture and civilisation) and dealing with other social problems including housing and poverty.
But since Macron’s speech searches and administrative closures of Muslim establishments have increased, particularly in the Paris region. Raids have taken place against Muslim schools, funeral services and homes.
Prominent French activist Marwan Muhammad said on Twitter that Macron was playing with fire.
He said: “By using these kinds of humiliating and disproportionate methods, you create an EXPLOSIVE situation that you can no longer control. To sow fear, humiliation and mistrust, what are you trying to provoke? Riots? Civil war?”
Moazzam Begg, Outreach Director for CAGE said: “The targeting of one of the country’s biggest Muslim charities, BarakaCity and its president Idriss Sihamedi, who is a vocal advocate for Muslim rights, sends a clear message that the state is on an open witch hunt of Islam and Muslims. In the absence of any meaningful charges we demand his immediate release.
“Baraka City and Sihamedi enjoy wide spectrum of support from the Muslim community in France. Macron’s popularity is ailing and he is now pandering to the far-right to demonstrate his Islamophobic credentials for the upcoming presidential elections. Macron wants to surpass Marine Le Pen in his anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies. As a result Muslims are the prime targets at the altar of his political ambitions.”