France launches widespread raids on Muslims ahead of Olympics

France has unleashed a series of violent police raids against the Muslim community under the pretext of protecting national security during the Olympics.

Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced in a message sent to all administrative regions that all measures should be taken to limit the “capacity to cause trouble” and to keep the most dangerous individuals monitored by the services “away from events.”

Darmanin has also outlined a system of “detection and obstruction” targeting all Muslims who find themselves on the ever-expanding state security files, supposedly for “radicalisation for terrorist purposes.” More than 5,100 Muslims will be closely monitored.

French regions are required to establish interventionary measures “of any kind” for “any target” registered in the state security file. These include raids, house arrests and imprisonments.

This means that any alleged or perceived infraction is to be pursued and used to justify state intervention.

CAGE and other organisations have received numerous testimonies of violent raids carried out against innocent Muslims. 250 Muslims were raided in Paris alone.

Rayan Freschi, researcher for CAGE International, said: “Police use extreme violence to terrorise the victims of these raids, through deliberate destruction of doors, furniture and belongings in addition to physical brutality. The state used similar tactics between November 2015 and February 2016, a period during which thousands of Muslim families were violently raided as a form of collective punishment for the ISIS-inspired attacks in France that year. These tactics seek to discipline and silence Muslims by spreading paralysing fear amongst an entire community.”

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In 2022 CAGE released a report which revealed the unprecedented crackdown on Islam and Muslims in France under the government of Emmanuel Macron.

The report said the crackdown on Islam and Muslims amounted to “persecution” under international law, as well as institutionalised Islamophobia and repression.

CAGE said the pattern of behaviour exhibited by the French state towards Muslims was calculated to harass and humiliate, resulting in the intentional and severe deprivation of freedom of religion, of opinion, of association and right to property.

In 2021 the French parliament approved a law to strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs. The government said it was needed to safeguard France from “radical Islamists” and to promote respect for secularism and women’s rights. The law has been used to shut down multiple mosques and community groups.

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