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France has shut 20 mosques since December: Interior minister

France has shut down about 20 mosques and prayer halls as part of the country’s fight against “radicalization,” the country’s interior minister says.

Speaking after a meeting with leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Religion, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday that the mosques had been closed down in various parts of the European country over the past eight months.

The minister also claimed that the religious sites, which were closed, were considered to be preaching radical Islam.

“There is no place … in France for those who call for and incite hatred in prayer halls or in mosques, and who don’t respect certain republican principles, notably equality between men and women,” Cazeneuve said, adding, “That is why I took the decision a few months ago to close mosques through the state of emergency, legal measures or administrative measures. About 20 mosques have been closed, and there will be others.”

Last week, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that he would consider a temporary ban on foreign financing of mosques.

Some Saudi-funded mosques and religious centers across France and elsewhere in Europe are considered to be preaching Takfirism and Wahhabism. Takfirism is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi clerics.

France has been reeling from a spate of terror attacks over the past few months.

On July 26, two knife-wielding assailants, identified as Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, interrupted a service at St. Etienne church.

They forced 85-year-old parish priest, Father Jacques Hamel, to his knees and slit his throat. Two nuns and an elderly couple were also held hostage until the attackers were shot dead by police.

Amaq, a news outlet affiliated with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, said in a statement that two of its elements were behind the assault.

On July 14, at least 84 people lost their lives and over 200 others sustained injuries when a truck ran through a crowd of people celebrating the French National Day in the southern French city of Nice.

On November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, claimed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, brought shock and horror to the French capital. Some 130 people were killed and over 350 others were injured in the horrendous attacks.

Muslim leaders in France and around the world have reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks.

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