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French press review 26 December 2015

Text by: Clea Broadhurst
7 min

The online versions of this morning's French newspapers all report the ransacking of a Muslim prayer hall and attempted burning of copies of the Koran on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica on Friday.


Tensions mounted in Ajaccio on Christmas Day after two firefighters and a police officer were wounded overnight in Jardins de L'Empereur, a low-income neighbourhood of the city when they were "ambushed" by "several hooded youths", according to authorities.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

On Friday afternoon around 150 people gathered in front of police headquarters in the island's capital in a show of support for the police and firefighters.

But some of them broke away from the crowd, shouting "Arabs get out!" or "This is our home!" in Corsican, and attacked the prayer hall.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls wrote on Twitter that the break-in was "an unacceptable desecration", while also condemning the "intolerable attack" on the wounded firefighters.

And French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack on the Muslim prayer hall showed signs of "racism and xenophobia".

He also condemned the assault on law enforcement and safety officers, saying he hoped "the authors of the violence would be identified and arrested as soon as possible."

Le Monde headlines with “How the Islamic State armed group has shaken up the world” and has a long piece saying that the group has, in only 10 years, become a worldwide threat.

It says that what was once called the “replacement of Al Qaeda” by US President Barack Obama, has long ouststripped "its mothership". Like a virus, every time we believe we’ve defeated it, it comes back even stronger, Le Monde comments. 

What's dangerous with IS is the fact that it's recruiting within the countries it wants to strike the most, with young French and Belgian nationals carrying out November's Paris attacks, the paper says.

Le Monde says IS is also taking advantage of the fact that Turkey has been looking the other way when it comes to the ongoing traffic in oil on its borders.

Click here for our coverage of Turkey election 2015

It concludes by saying that what's worrying is the fact that IS has already set goals to expand its territory to countries in political turmoil, such as Libya and Egypt.

Both Libération and La Croix run the story of the discovery of the long-lost granddaughter of a founder of an Argentinian rights group that fights to find babies stolen by the 1976-1983 military dictatorship. 

Clara Anahi Mariani, who was abducted at three months old when regime agents killed her mother, is the 120th stolen baby to be found since her grandmother Maria "Chicha" Mariani helped found the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo to look for them in 1977.

La Croix also reports the words of Pope Francis regarding the fight against terrorism, without naming the Islamic State armed group per se. The pontiff called for more dialogue when it comes to protecting “persecuted” Christians around the world.

Communist newspaper L’Humanité also has the message of the Pope, underlining his words of concern when it comes to terrorism, especially after the attacks this past year in Egypt, Bamako, Paris and Tunis. 

Right-wing Le Figaro says that President François Hollande may stage a cabinet reshuffle, a project that was put off after the 13 November Paris attacks.

He may bring in people from civil society rather than the Green Party, as was first announced, the paper says. But it stresses as well the need for the left to be united in the wake of the rise of the far right in recent elections, calling for the Greens to be more involved in the government.

Le Figaro singles out the case of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who recently suffered quite a blow when the government announced it would strip dual nationals convicted of terrorism of their French nationality after she had denied that it would do so, saying it remains unclear whether Hollande will let her go or not.

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