A debate in France about financing a Turkish mosque

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France, March 26: The French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan accused the municipality of Strasbourg in eastern France of “financing foreign intervention on French territory”, for agreeing to make a financial contribution to build a mosque behind which an Islamic association loyal to Turkey stands.

But the mayor of Strasbourg Jean Parsigian, who is an advocate of environmental protection, denied in a letter to President Emmanuel Macron that she had received any warning from the state agencies regarding this mosque.

Read Also: Britain moves to impose restrictions on travel from France and include it on the “red list”

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This dispute comes at a time when relations between France and Turkey have deteriorated since the attack launched by Ankara in October 2019 against the Kurdish forces in Syria allied with the West, and Turkey’s expansionist policy in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, and the policy pursued by France to combat ‘Islamic extremism’ have also contributed. », In fueling the dispute between Paris and Ankara in recent months.

On Monday, the Strasbourg Municipal Council agreed “in principle to provide a financial grant” of more than 2.5 million euros, to contribute to the construction of a mosque to be built by the pro-Turkish “Milli Görüş” Islamic Association in a working-class neighborhood of the city.

According to the mayor, this amount represents “10 percent of the total cost of construction work.”

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Yesterday, the Minister of Interior said: “I had the opportunity to tell the mayor of Strasbourg that, at a minimum, we do not find this matter in line with the French interests,” explaining that “this pro-Turkey association did not want to sign the Charter of the Values ​​of the Republic.” And he added: “We consider that this association can no longer be part of the bodies that represent Islam in France.”

Darmanan’s statement came a day after the French president warned, in a televised statement, of Turkey’s attempts to interfere in the French presidential elections scheduled for 2022.

According to the Minister of the Interior, “There are, especially in Strasbourg, very strong attempts to intervene in our country, especially by Turkey. We have a number of indications that the Turkish government wants to interfere in French matters, especially religious ones, ”noting that according to his information,“ Milli Gurus sought to obtain money from elsewhere, especially from a Gulf country. ”

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In response to a question, Parsigian confirmed that the municipality agreed to provide this financial contribution “with conditions, which are the presentation of a strong and transparent financing plan, and the project owner’s assertion of his adherence to the values ​​of the Republic.” Therefore, it is the duty of the state to assume its responsibilities and to share the information it possesses with local elected officials. ”

In a recent context, negotiations to build a mosque in the city of Daegu, in central South Korea, failed between residents and officials responsible for carrying out construction work.

“We built a mosque in the Jeokjeon-dong neighborhood of Daegu in 2002, and there were no problems,” said Nader Khan, the chief responsible for carrying out the mosque construction, during the negotiations, stressing that “Islam means peace, and we do not want any disputes with the city’s residents. “And that” the Muslims who will use the mosque are masters and doctoral students from different countries of the world who are currently studying at Kyungpook National University, and they will not cause any problems. “

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On the other hand, one of the residents who participated in the negotiations said: “You said at the beginning that you would build a mosque consisting of one floor, but you built a 3-storey structure,” adding: “Residents’ silence until now does not mean their acceptance of building the mosque.”

The construction of the mosque began in December of last year, and the construction of the steel frame of the mosque was completed, but the Buk Gu district office, which granted the building permit, issued an order to suspend construction operations after receiving petitions from 351 residents, and because of the residents ’continued opposition to building the mosque.

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