Muslim Prayer Hall Attacked in Corsica

Muslim Prayer Hall Attacked in CorsicaMuslim Prayer Hall Attacked in Corsica

Demonstrators ransacked the building and set fire to copies of the holy Qur’an, hours after hooded youths clashed with police in the capital Ajaccio. On Friday, a Muslim prayer room was vandalized after a crowd of about 150 gathered in front of official government buildings, AFP reported.

The Christmas Day violence came as an apparent act of retaliation after police and firefighters were “ambushed” by “several hooded youths” overnight in a low-income neighborhood of Ajaccio, the capital of the island of Corsica, authorities said.

The group shouted slogans in Corsican meaning “Arabs get out!” and “This is our home!”

“A small group smashed the prayer hall’s glass door before entering and partially burning books that included copies of the holy Qur’an,” said regional official Francois Lalanne.

The vandalism took place a few hours after firefighters were set upon while responding to an emergency call late on Thursday night. Two firefighters and a police officer were injured in the earlier attack.

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls described the violence unacceptable desecration of a Muslim place of prayer.” French Muslim groups also condemned the violence, which they said took place “on a day of prayer for both Muslims and Christians.”

The Mediterranean island is a department of France, where security continues to top the political agenda after attacks in Paris killed 130 people.