Two Mosques Damaged in Suspected Arson Attacks

March 7, 2004

Source: BBC News

On March 7, 2004 the BBC News reported, "About 250 people have held a protest rally in the south-eastern French town of Annecy after two local mosques were damaged in suspected arson attacks. One fire ravaged a mosque in the Alpine town itself while the other burned a prayer room in nearby Seynod. French President Jacques Chirac condemned the 'odious acts'. In Paris, the issue of the Islamic veil in schools resurfaced as thousands of feminists marched in support of the new state ban on religious symbols. Kamel Kabtane of the French Council of the Muslim Faith said in Annecy that the suspected cases of arson were 'not an act of vandalism... [but] an attack' and complained that no senior French politician had joined the protest. 'We are in a pre-electoral period and many politicians did not dare come, fearing perhaps a backlash from voters,' Mr Kabtane said, presumably referring to regional polls later in March.