English

France Begins Shutting Down Mosques and Islamic Prayer Room

PARIS — The French government has shut down three mosques and four informal Muslim prayer rooms out of concern that they were contributing to Islamic radicalization, the French interior minister announced Wednesday.

The minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, told the National Assembly that the action was necessary after the deadly terror attacks in and around Paris on Nov. 13, which left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.

“There will be complete firmness against those that preach hatred in France,” he said.

Two of the shuttered mosques are in the greater Paris region and one is in Lyon; four “clandestine” prayer rooms were closed in Nice. The closures are to last only as long as the national state of emergency does, Mr. Cazeneuve said.

The focus on prayer rooms is relatively new. News media reports suggested that the police in several countries were giving closer scrutiny to such places, generally in storefronts or residences.

It was hard to tell from Mr. Cazeneuve’s comments how great a risk the three mosques were thought to present. The French authorities have detained or expelled imams for hate speech, but none connected with the closed mosques, an Interior Ministry official said. However, when the

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