By Alattin Dogru and Esra Taskin
ANKARA / PARIS (AA): A mosque affiliated with Turkiye’s Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) in France’s northeastern province of Metz was attacked on Thursday night.
The mosque was damaged in a fire that broke out after unknown persons lobbed three Molotov cocktails on the walls of the mosque.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ali Durak, president of the DITIB Metz Central Mosque Associatio, said the mosque was saved from being completely burned down at the last moment.
“We did not expect such an attack,” he said, adding the association is in constant interaction with the local community.
“We are an association that carries out activities together with the French people here. Along with Islamic activities, we also work as a charity organization,” he said.
Durak said the mosque was attacked for the first time, noting that local officials immediately contacted them after the attack.
Meanwhile, the Coordination Committee of Turkish Muslim Associations (CCMTF) said in a statement that anti-Muslim, racist and xenophobic incidents are on the rise in the country.
The latest attack is related to Islamophobia, which became more evident during the presidential elections, the statement emphasized.
The attack coincides with an increase in Islamophobic attacks and the closure of places of worship, especially mosques, in the country recently, it said.
Mosque administrators have called for the perpetrators of the attack to be found as soon as possible.
Earlier, the request of the representatives of the religious association to install security cameras in and around the mosque was rejected by the governor’s office without any justification.
Metz Mayor François Grosdidier has condemned the attack, which he described as Islamophobic, and issued a message of solidarity.
Stating that the attack “harmed the spirit of the city where tolerance prevails,” Grosdidier said the city will hold a solidarity rally on Saturday at noon local time to condemn the crime.
* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk
[Photo: DITIB run mosque set on fire by Anti-Muslim attack in Metz, France on 6 May 2022. Photo: AA]