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France Working to De-Radicalize Its Mosques
by Johanna Markind
France is taking steps to de-radicalize its mosques in the hopes of preventing the radicalization of its Muslim community.
Since December, the French government, acting under expanded emergency powers, has shut down twenty mosques for preaching Salafism, a strict and highly politicized Sunni interpretation of Islam. Groups such as ISIS adhere to Salafism. About 120 of France's 2,500 mosques and prayer halls are considered Salafist.
A little background: the United States' 9/11 Commission found that Saudi Arabia uses charity and "government funds to spread Wahhabi [a Saudi form of Salafism] beliefs throughout the world, including in mosques and schools." The technique of spreading Wahhabi-Salafi beliefs by funding mosques and, crucially, those who preach in them, has occurred in places as far-flung as Pakistan, Senegal, and Germany.
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