VIA| Police discover “bullets, Islamist propaganda and unauthorised madrassa” in raid after closure of mosque in Lagny-sur-Seine, outside Paris, in wake of Paris terror attacks
Kalashnikov ammunition and Islamist propaganda videos were seized byFrench police in raids on Sunday after shutting down a mosque in the Paris suburbs, according to French authorities.
Linked to the traditionalist Salafist branch of Islam, the prayer hall in Lagny-sur-Marne, around 18 miles east of the capital, was shut down last Wednesday following a major police operation.
It was the third mosque in France to be closed as part of state of emergency clamp down after the jihadist attacks on Paris on November 13 that killed 130.
During raids linked to the mosque, police found “7.62mm ammunition for a Kalashnikov rifle and propaganda videos” for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(Isil), according to the prefect, the highest state representative, of the Seine-and-Marne department.
The locations of the raids were not disclosed.
A revolver and jihadist documents had already been found during searches at the homes of the mosque leaders, Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, had said last week.
The operation resulted in 22 travel bans and nine house arrests for “radicalised individuals”.
Police also found recordings of religious chants “glorifying the martyrs of jihad linked to the terrorist organisation Jabhat al-Nusra”, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, the prefecture added.
The recordings were found among a wealth of teaching material for young people in an undeclared madrassa, or religious school. Police removed a hard disk and 10 computers.
“No request was made to open a private school,” the state prefecture said in its statement.
Mohammed Ramdane, president of the local Muslim association in Lagny, had criticised the closure of the prayer hall at the time, saying: “Nothing has been found in the mosque. Nothing is hidden, we don’t hide anything.
Regulars at the mosque now conduct prayers at a nearby sports pitch.
Pierre Tebaldini, the local centrist mayor, played down the discoveries, saying that nothing was found in the mosque itself to link it to radical Islam.
“Why all this fuss? Is there a link to the regional elections (in France)?,” he asked, saying that police found little more than an old pistol and some “prayer chants in Arabic for children”.
“Maybe they want to reassure the French, but rather they are discrediting the government’s action, above all among Muslims,” he said.