French extremists ransack Muslim prayer hall, burn copies of Qur’an on Corsica


A mob of anti-Muslim extremists has ransacked a prayer hall on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica and set fire to copies of the Holy Qur’an.

A local police official said the crowd of people damaged the prayer room in the city of Ajaccio on Friday.

The violence came a day after two firefighters and a police official were wounded in a low-income neighborhood of the city when they were “ambushed” by “several hooded youths,” authorities said.

The protesters had gathered to show their support for the police officer and firefighters, but some in the crowd smashed the glass door of the nearby Muslim prayer hall and entered the place of worship, said regional official Francois Lalanne.

“Fifty prayer books were thrown out on the street,” AFP quoted Lalanne as saying, adding that some of the books were burnt.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls denounced the attack, calling it an unacceptable sacrilege of a Muslim place of prayer.

“After the intolerable attack against the firemen, an unacceptable desecration of a Muslim prayer hall. Respect the law of the Republic,” Valls wrote on his Twitter account.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the raid on the prayer room showed signs of “racism and xenophobia.”

Anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise in France after the November 13 Daesh attacks in Paris killed 130 people.

France’s five-million-strong Muslim community, which is Europe’s largest, accounts for about eight percent of the country’s total population.