The French authorities have said they will close down the prominent Muslim charity BarakaCity as well as the country’s main anti-Islamophobia organisation – the Collective against Islamophobia in France.
The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, has qualified the NGOs as “enemies of the Republic” in response to the assassination of the teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded on Friday after showing blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to his students.
BarakaCity is accused of posting messages on social media that have lead to hate speech.
And the CCIF is accused of being involved in the assassination of the teacher because a parent of a student behind the campaign against the teacher had “referred” to the association in one of his videos.
The two associations have already announced that they will contest their dissolution. They say they have never called for violence and accuse the government of taking advantage of the current tense climate caused by the attack.
BarakaCity says it has always operated within the law and has never called for terrorism or hate. It says it operates in 26 countries and millions of needy people will suffer because of the government’s actions.
Its president, Idriss Sihamedi, was re-arrested this morning accused of harassing public personalities on Twitter.
And the CCIF says it cannot be held responsible for the actions of a parent which it in no way encouraged.
It said: “Not knowing how to react to the terrorist attacks, the government has, each time, wanted to make demonstrations of force, most of the time illegal, by attacking in a violent and deliberate way most often innocuous Muslims presented as ‘Islamists.’ This strategy has not only been ineffective – terrorism has not disappeared – but also harmful and dangerous, because it responds precisely to the terrorists’ agenda. It validates their model and confirms their speech…
“After having defended thousands of people targeted by discriminatory and unfair measures, it is now our turn to pay the price. As in a good number of cases that we defend, the questioning of the CCIF does not correspond to a factual reality, nor to a legal reality, but to a political will: to criminalise the fight against Islamophobia.”
Meanwhile, 50 further organisations, which the state suspects of having connections with radical Islam, are in the crosshairs of the authorities and will in the coming days receive “visits from the services of the state,” said the chief of police.
The authorities have also ordered the closure of the Pantin mosque for having relayed on their Facebook page a video denouncing the actions of Samuel Paty.