For the second time this year France’s Muslims have seen carnage brought to the streets of Paris by a few radical Islamists and fear that they will now suffer as a consequence.
In the wake of Paris terror attack there is a nagging fear in the back of many minds on Sunday: Would the latest spasm of violence in the name of Islam bring retaliation against Muslim community?
The terror attacks in Paris will likely worsen the challenges faced by Muslim communities in Europe; particularly as extreme right-wing political parties in the region begin to politicize the tragedy that saw the killing of many.
The real problem will be faced by poorer immigrants – who may possibly face an enemy or terrorist tag, the worst case would be European countries may shut the doors for refugees.
“Of course we are scared,” said a French Muslim. We didn’t choose for this to happen. The people who carried out the murders were not Muslim, they were not fanatics, and they were assassins. But not everyone sees that.”
35 year old Dem echoed the concerns that the latest attack would stir up more anti-Muslim sentiment across France.
“When you see it on television, you get the impression that we are all bad. I don’t want to be mistaken for a criminal,” he said. “Every month there is something against Muslims but the Muslims live here peacefully. It upsets us to be portrayed this way.”
“That is not Islam what terrorist did,” said one worshiper. “The young are radicalized in prison, they are arrested for selling drugs, robbing people, and then in prison they are told this is Islam, but it is not.”
In the wake of the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January that followed anti-Muslim acts such as the spraying of graffiti on mosques and insults made against veiled women flared up.Dem recalled witnessing a woman wearing a head scarf being verbally abused on a bus by another passenger.
“We are integrated, we respect the law of the country and we work, pay taxes, respect the inhabitants,” he said of the Muslim community.
Already, French officials have warned of the possibility of cracking down on mosques deemed as harboring Muslim radicals.
The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said Sunday that the state of emergency declared Friday gives the government the means to act more quickly against those “who preach hatred in France,” including through expulsions and the “dissolution” of radical mosques.
“I didn’t wait for the state of emergency to track down radical imams who preach hatred and to address places of worship where they preach that hatred,” Cazeneuve said in an interview with France 2 TV.
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No public mention has been made of targeting mosques in Courcouronnes, but that hasn’t stopped residents here from worrying about the general atmosphere across Europe.