World, Europe

France dissolves Muslim charity BarakaCity

Head of charity denies accusations, seeks asylum in Turkey

Alaattin Dogru   | 28.10.2020
France dissolves Muslim charity BarakaCity

PARIS 

Amid growing protests and condemnations against anti-Islam rhetoric in France, Paris dissolved on Wednesday BarakaCity, one of the country's largest Muslim charities.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed the development on Twitter, sharing a detailed decree agreed during the Council of Ministers meeting.

He claimed that the NGO has links to "radical Islamist movements," and accused them of "legitimizing terrorist attacks." The organization denied the charges.

Idriss Sihamedi, the charity's founder, took to Twitter to deny all the accusations against Barakacity, which delivered aid to 2 million people in 26 countries for 10 years, calling them “smear” and “lies”.

Addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter, Sihamedi asked for asylum in Turkey.

"I would like to request political asylum for myself and my staff (at BarakaCity), as I am not safe in France," he tweeted in Turkish.

On Oct. 14, police raided the home of Sihamedi and arrested him. He was released the day after.

The raid was one of many that took place across France following President Emmanuel Macron's announcement to fight "Islamist separatism" in the country in a controversial speech, in which he described Islam "a religion in crisis all over the world."

Tensions have further escalated since the the murder of a high school teacher, Samuel Patty, on Oct. 16, who showed blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in class.

Macron has defended the cartoons, saying France would "not give up our cartoons," causing outrage across the Muslim world.

Besides condemnations from Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, among others, there have been calls to boycott French products, protests, as well as attacks on French websites.

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