PARIS - French Muslim groups have urged the government to install surveillance cameras at every mosque in France following a recent series of attacks targeting Muslim mosques across the country.
"It is time that town councils took this problem seriously and started putting cameras in front of mosques, as is already the case for synagogues," Abdallah Zekri, who chairs an Islamophobia Observatory set up by France's Muslim Council, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
Zekri calls followed a recent attack targeting a mosque in Limoges in the centre of the country.
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Unlike many mosques in France, the Limoges Islamic centre is immediately recognizable as a mosque because of its minaret.
Last Wednesday, worshippers woke up to see excrement smeared on the mosque doors, in an attack regarded as a grave assault on Muslims' dignity.
Local police said the mosque doors had been daubed with neo-Nazi graffiti at the end of July.
"This attack is a grave assault on the dignity of Muslims," Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement.
It is shocking for every citizen who upholds the values of respect and tolerance, the statement added.
France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, the largest in Europe.
France has been irking its Muslim minority by a series of provocative measures ranging from banning face-veils in public and hijab in schools, launching government-sponsored debates on national identity to outlawing Muslim street prayers.
The attack reflected a growing trend of anti-Muslim attacks targeting mosques.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith asked the faithful for calm vigilance in the face of rising Islamophobia.
Last February, Zekri's Paris-based Islamophobic Crime Monitoring Group issued a report warning of increasing number of Islamophobic attacks in France in 2011 in comparison to the previous year.
According to Zekri there were 38 major violent incidents and arson attacks aimed at French Muslims, mosques and Islamic centers, an increase from 22 in 2010.
In August, two pigs heads were hung on two pillars outside a mosque in the southwestern town of Montauban.
Last January 31, vandals attacked a French mosque in the GlonniÃ¨res district of Le Mans, covering its walls with graffiti reading Islam out of Europe, No Islam and France for the French.
Three days earlier, another mosque in Miramas was also daubed with Islamophobic slogans along with the name of Front National presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
On January 17 fascist graffiti was painted on the wall of a mosque that is under construction in Montigny-en-Ostrevent reading President Adolf or Hei in reference to the Nazi salute. Heil Hitler.
Two days later on January 19 two pigs' heads were left at the site a mosque is being built in Nanterre.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net