France closes down another anti-Islamophobia organisation

The French authorities have closed down another anti-Islamophobia organisation, accusing it of calling for “hatred, violence and discrimination.”

The Coordination against Racism and Islamophobia (CRI) has been operational since 2008 and is mainly located in the Rhône department although it works at the national level.

The Council of Ministers accused CRI of working “actively, in particular through social networks, to cultivate the suspicion of Islamophobia within French society.”

In its decree of dissolution, the CRI is also accused of carrying an “anti-Zionist ideology” and “through its publications on social networks, the association aims to provoke violent acts against certain categories of determined persons.”

The Coordination against Racism and Islamophobia has vowed to appeal and has accused the Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, of targeting another Muslim organisation to appease the far-right ahead of the French presidential election.

CRI said: “We are dismayed by the fallacious arguments put forward by the government, and for those who know our actions since our creation in 2008 this despicable attack is in fact only a PR exercise with an electoral aim.

“Our association has always worked to support victims and legally fight against racist and Islamophobic discrimination and attacks. Our association has never supported or promoted terrorism, hatred or violence, nor obtained a subsidy or dirty money and has never been arrested or tried for incitement to hatred or violence or other nonsense advanced by the government that wants to attack the weakest and disorganised category of the country…

“We support the Palestinian people in the face of an illegal occupation, it is a political and not an antisemitic position; we recall that Jewish citizens all over the world are also against colonisation and the racist policies of the Israeli extreme right.

“The accusation is that one of our members called for violence against the police forces. If this were the case, the police unions would have prosecuted him criminally for this offence. Why was it not done then?…

“This call to dissolve our anti-racist association is only a political move with an electoral aim, in order to gag our freedom of expression and our desire to help the victims of racism and Islamophobia.”

Since the attack that targeted Professor Samuel Paty in 2020, the French state has launched an unprecedented offensive against Muslim institutions and those fighting against Islamophobia.

The nation’s biggest anti-Islamophobia organisation and its biggest Muslim charity have both been shut down and forced to move their operations abroad.

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