Muslims want remembrance day after war graves attack
Religious leaders in France say a day of remembrance will help raise awareness about the contribution of Muslims in the war.
PARIS – Religious leaders called for France to create a new day of remembrance for its Muslim war dead on Tuesday, after vandals defaced hundreds of Muslim graves in a military cemetery in northern France.
The Rally of French Muslims (RMF) called for the day of tributes in the wake of the third such attack in less than two years at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette World War I cemetery, one of the nation's biggest military graveyards.
It said the move should "raise youth awareness about the contribution of Muslims who fell to defend the freedom of their nation, France, and the liberty of all French people whatever their religion or beliefs."
President Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned as "revolting" Sunday night's attack, in which vandals daubed swastikas and anti-Islam slogans on about 500 of the cemetery's 576 Muslim graves.
The RMF, whose leader Mohammed Moussaoui is the current head of the official French Council for the Muslim Religion, said it "firmly and tirelessly condemns these cowardly and despicable acts".
The Paris mosque is to hold a prayer ceremony at the cemetery on Friday.
In April, vandals desecrated 148 Muslim graves at the cemetery, hanging a pig's head from one tombstone and taunting France's justice minister, Rachida Dati, who is of North African descent.
Two young men with neo-Nazi sympathies are awaiting trial over April's desecration. They deny involvement.
[AFP / Expatica]