A mosque in eastern France was damaged after unknown attackers set fire to the building using a burning rubbish bin early Thursday, France 3 television reported.
The head of the mosque in Montbeliard, located about 170 kilometres south of Strasbourg, near the German border, discovered the fire when he arrived to open the building for morning prayers, the report said. One wall was badly damaged. The attack on the mosque is the second in a month, according to France 3.
A group calling itself Les Echappees Belles (The Lucky Escapes) claimed responsibility for the incident in tracts left near the mosque. The group – believed to be a group of women loosely influenced by right-wing extremists, according to France 3 – had claimed responsibility for setting fire to the mosque’s van in October.
Police were investigating the incident.
Muslim groups say the number of attacks on Muslims and Muslim institutions is on the increase. The Collective Against Islamophobia in France recorded 188 Islamophobic acts in 2010, mostly against institutions such as mosques.