Protesters in Corsica Burn Qu’rans, Vandalize Mosque

 In Foreign

Protesters in Corsica burn Qu’rans and Vandalize Mosque

The tension is mounting on the French Island of Corsica, as protesters turned violent on Friday. The protests were so violent for two days that by Sunday, the government had banned demonstrations… and in an act of total defiance to that edict, hundreds of protesters turned out on Sunday.

 protesters in corsica

The prayer hall damaged by protesters in Corsica

First responders ambushed

The clashes reportedly started when two firefighters and a police officer were attacked in an ambush by several “hooded youths” from the Jardins de L’Empereur neighborhood. That part of Ajaccio, Corsica is a low-income, predominantly Muslim area.

On Friday, in a show of solidarity with firefighters and police, about 150 people gathered  in front of the prefecture. But soon into the protest, some broke away and headed for Jardins de L’Empereur where the men had been attacked the night before.

Arabs Get Out!

The protesters began shouting “Arabs get out!” and “This is our home!” They smashed the glass door to the mosque and ransacked the prayer hall, partially burning copies of the Qu’ran.

qurans

Qurans were partially burned during the protests

In response, the government banned demonstrations until at least Jan 6. Christopher Mirmand, the top Corsican official, vowed  to find and prosecute the perpetrators of both the attacks on the firefighters and the protesters who damaged the mosque. But neither his ban, nor his promise stopped the protesters.

Racist?

By Sunday, when demonstrators attempted to reach that neighborhood, riot police had erected a fence to keep them out.

French officials reacted with dismay and concern over what they called “racist and xenophobic” reactions. Islam is a religion and political system, not a race. Minor details, but important distinctions.

In the last regional election, Corsica voted for the anti-immigration Nationalist Front. It appears that at least this part of France has had enough of Muslims.

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