New act of vandalism targets French mosque

A fire, probably of criminal origin, broke out briefly Sunday night at a mosque under construction in central France, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks on Muslim targets.

Paris: A fire, probably of criminal origin, broke out briefly Sunday night at a mosque under construction in central France, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks on Muslim targets.

The fire Sunday at the mosque in Poitiers was extinguished before fire fighters arrived, and according to local officials appeared to be the work of arsonists.

The incident was the latest in a string of hostile acts against mosques in France since three attacks by armed jihadists in and around Paris last week left 17 people dead.

In other cases, buildings have been defaced with racist slogans, sprayed with gun shot, or otherwise degraded.

A mosque in the eastern city Aix-les-Bain was seriously damaged by arsonists Thursday night while another fire targetted a mosque in the southwest town of Albi.

In Corsica Friday night, bodies of wild pigs were dumped outside Muslim prayer halls, according to police, and the building housing the island`s main Muslim organisation near Ajaccio was painted with the slogan "Arabi fora" ("Arabs out").

A mosque in the Basque city Bayonne was defaced with green spray-painted racist slogans making reference to the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The Poitiers mosque has also been attacked by vandals who spray-painted "Death to Arabs" on the gate Thursday. Following Sunday`s fire, the site will be placed under police guard.  

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