French NGO BarakaCity asks Turkey for political asylum following forced closure

Idriss Sihamedi

The president of the French Muslim charity BarakaCity has asked President Erdogan for asylum in Turkey following its closure by the French authorities earlier today.

Idriss Sihamedi, who has been arrested twice in the last few weeks for “social media harassment,” said on Twitter that he was asking for asylum for himself and his team following death threats after President Macron had lied about the NGO’s activities. He said that Turkey, as a state, was fit to protect them.

BarakaCity added that they had been shut down “because of their belief in Allah.”

Earlier today Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin officially announced the charity’s closure which, according to him, “incites hate, has relations with the radical Islamist movement and justifies terrorist acts.”

After the assassination of the teacher Samuel Paty, Darmanin expressed his intention to terminate the activities of BarakaCity which he said had links with “Islamism and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said: “This association and its founder-president hides behind a humanitarian front but spreads antisemitism, death threats and apologises for crimes against humanity. We will continue the struggle against the enemies of democracy.”

Lawyers for BarakaCity immediately expressed their intention to contest the decision which they called “political” because Mr Darmanin had signalled his intention to get rid of the “enemies of the Republic.”

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They said that the association had been targeted by the authorities following the attack on Mr Paty despite the fact they had nothing to do with it and had strongly condemned it.

They added that the government’s decision would deprive 46 employees of their jobs, would leave two million needy people around the world in the lurch, and would outrage Muslims in France and worldwide.

France has also expressed its intention to close down the biggest anti-Islamophobia organisation in the country – the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. Darmanin has also called the CCIF “an enemy of the Republic” although it has vowed to fight any closure using all legal means necessary.

Protests have taken place throughout the Muslim world condemning the French state’s defence of “the right to insult Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)” as well as its treatment of innocent Muslims in France.

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