PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Vandals have targeted a French
mosque in a graffiti attack, tagging the worship center with swastikas and anti-Islam slogans, officials said earlier today.
The attack was discovered by worshippers arriving for morning prayers at the mosque in Ozoir-La-Ferriere, a small town 35 kilometers east of Paris.
Photographs of the mosque show at least two swastikas painted on the facade, as well as an explicit anti-Islam slogan and "Long Live Gaul," the ancient Roman-era name for France. Police were investigating the incident.
In the eastern city of Besançon, two mosques were also vandalized with a Star of David – commonly used by the Nazis to identify Jews.
Sources close to the inquiry, however, cautioned that the vandalism was not necessarily triggered by anti-Islam sentiment and said investigators were looking at several leads, including whether it was carried out by an unhappy worshipper.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attacks "with the utmost severity" and called them "foul and hateful." According to statistics from an Islamic monitoring organization, 201 anti-Islam attacks were recorded in France last year, up 28 percent on 2011.