International

French PM ‘open’ to interim ban on foreign funding of mosques

FRENCH PM MAIN

PARIS, FRANCE: Prime Minister of France said on Friday he was “open” to a temporary ban on foreign financing for mosque building, after a spate of attacks in the country claimed by so-called Islamic State militants.

Manuel Valls also admitted in an interview with the Le Monde daily it was a “failure” that one of the jihadists who attacked a church and killed a priest earlier this week had been released with an electronic tag pending trial.

Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have come under fire for perceived security failings that have failed to prevent three major terror attacks in France in 18 months.

The fact that one of the church attackers, 19-year-old Adel Kermiche, was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag meant judges needed to take a “different, case-by-case, approach,” Valls said.

However, the prime minister stressed that the judges in this individual case should not be held responsible for this “act of terrorism.”

And as the jkilling of a priest at the altar of his church sparked fears of religious tensions in secular France, Valls said the country needed to forge “a new relationship” with Islam.

“We need to reset and invent a new relationship with Islam in France,” Valls said.

He added he was “open to the idea that – for a period yet to be determined – there should be no financing from abroad for the construction of mosques.”

Valls also called for imams to be “trained in France, not elsewhere.”

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