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France sees 'alarming' rise in Islamophobia
The number of racist acts against Muslims in France is increasing "alarmingly", according to the country's National Observatory of Islamophobia, whose president has called for overt Islamophobia to be taken as seriously as anti-Semitism, which is a criminal offence in France.
According to a report by the Observatory, which claims to fight "all forms of racism and xenophobia", "in 2011 the number [of anti-Muslim attacks] was up 34% on the previous year ... but what is happening in 2012 is alarming. Between January and the end of October there were 175 reported Islamophobic acts, a 42% increase compared with the same period in 2011."
The report highlighted the occupation of a building site of a new mosque in Poitiers, near Paris, by 74 members of the extreme-right splinter group "Generation Identity", who chanted hostile "warlike" slogans against Islam and Muslims.
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