PARIS — French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told reporters on Friday that the country should ban Islamic hate preachers and close their mosques in light of the most recent terror attack in the nation.
“Our country France has once again had the barbarity of a terrorist assault in the heart of our capital,” she said. “Once again it was the police who were targeted and paid for the fight against radical Islam with their blood. It is a monstrous ideology which has declared war on our nation, on our reason, and on our civilization.”
“The Islamist, Salafist ideology has no right to be in France and should be banned. Preachers of hate should be expelled and their mosques closed,” Le Pen declared.
On Thursday, Karim Cheurfi, 39, who had previously been convicted of attempted murder, opened fire on a police van with a Kalashnikov, killing officer Xavier Jugelé, 37. Police became involved in a shootout with Cheurfi, which resulted in the terrorist’s death. Two officers were injured during the confrontation.
According to the Associated Press, Cheurfi carried a note in his pocket during the Paris attack that expressed support for ISIS. The terrorist organization has also claimed responsibility for the violence.
President Francois Hollande condemned the shooting as a “cowardly killing,” advising that he was certain it was an act of terror.
“We shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election,” he stated.
But Le Pen, the Front Nationalist leader, said that the French government has not been hard enough on Islamic militants. She put forward that the nation should expel those of dual nationalities who are considered to be a terror risk and give “immediate administrative or criminal attention” to Frenchmen “known for their support of an enemy ideology.”
She also recommended that Islamic hate preachers be deported and their mosques shut down.
“This war is asymmetric and revolutionary. It is a war in which all the population, all the country is targeted. It is obviously a war we cannot lose,” Le Pen said.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, however, criticized her statements, opining that she was needlessly causing fear and division.
“The Front National candidate, just like every attack, seeks to divide and manipulate. She is shameless trying to exploit fear and emotion to exclusively political ends,” he claimed. “We must not give in to fear, intimidation, manipulation and not fall into division and extremes … tolerance must win, unity must prevail.”
According to Reuters, “France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks mostly perpetrated by young men who grew up in France and Belgium and that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.”