French court upholds government decision to shut down Muslim organizations – 5Pillars


Board of state. Editorial credit: S. Bonaime /

France’s highest administrative court has confirmed the government’s decision to shut down the country’s largest Muslim charity and anti-Islamophobia organization.

BarakaCity and the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF) were closed at the end of 2020 after the assassination of teacher Samuel Paty, with whom neither of the two organizations had any connection.

Nevertheless, on Friday, the Council of State agreed with the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin who, shortly after the beheading of the teacher, accused the two organizations of “incitement to hatred” and “Islamist propaganda” .

Darmanin closed them under the Internal Security Code, which allows groups to dissolve that “cause discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or group of people … (and) either propagate ideas or theories tending to justify or encourage this discrimination, hatred or violence or even those who engage in… acts with a view to provoking acts of terrorism.

Idriss Sihamedi, founder of BarakaCity

Responding to the decision, Darmanin described it as “an important step in the fight against Islamist ideology”.

On the other hand, the two targeted organizations denounced the decision as deeply Islamophobic.

BarakaCity, which had millions of beneficiaries around the world, declared: “This decision, which is not a surprise, is consistent with the anxiety-provoking and anti-Islam climate in France… Muslims in France are the subject of intense media coverage. and state institutions are used to control and diminish our faith …

“A Muslim NGO was dissolved without ever having been prosecuted or convicted… The message sent to the entire Muslim community muzzled is loud and clear… as Darmanin wished…

“The last few months have been rich in lessons, but also allowed us to broaden our horizons. Significant work has been carried out and is continuing. Our future, fortunately, does not depend on a political agenda and our actions will continue. This is also the message we want to send to those who sometimes lose hope. Allah is sufficient and He is undoubtedly the best guarantor. His wisdom is endless and his plans are the best.

The CCIF is now the Collective against Islamophobia in Europe

The CCIF, a human rights organization which provides legal support every year to thousands of people targeted for their Muslim faith in France, declared: “This decision, by its target and its motivations, is a major turning point. in the harsh and repressive political institutionalization in France.

“We express our deep concern at a decision which opens the way to making“ opinion ”a crime now incited by the highest administrative court in France. The reasons given by the Council of State’s decision against the CCIF directly undermine what constitutes the heart of our work as a human rights organization: advocacy with governments and institutions.

“The Council of State estimated at the end of a hearing which lasted no more than 10 minutes that the only and main complaint to address to the CCIF is its definition of institutional Islamophobia. The grievances alleged by the Ministry of the Interior – in particular that of apology for terrorism – were swept aside.

“The CCIF has been directly criticized for denouncing Islamophobia to public institutions and the administration. For the Council of State this is enough to constitute an incitement to hatred which goes beyond the protection of freedom of expression.

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