In a Friday sermon delivered at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Center in Detroit, Michigan, Iraqi-born Shiite Imam Hassan Qazwini said that "the first to be blamed [for extremism] is the French government itself." [...] "They are infringing on the freedom of over five million Muslims, further alienating them and creating the breeding ground for radicalization," he said. "I do not justify terrorism in France, but [...] the French government is an accomplice in creating the ground in which extremism is promoted and encouraged." The sermon, which was attended by several Iraqi dignitaries, was delivered on August 28 and posted on the YouTube channel of the Islamic Institute of America.
Hassan Qazwini: "When Muslim women in France find themselves besieged, that they even don't have the right to go to the beach and swim while covering themselves, what do you expect some Muslims to do? This is the natural result, natural consequences, of the French government's handling of the Muslim community. This is the breeding ground for extremism and radicalization. And if we were to blame anyone, the first one to be blamed is the French government itself, for taking away the Muslims' freedom.
"A woman in France can go and wear a bikini. Almost her entire body is exposed, and no one can say anything to her. No one can object to that, if she wishes to expose her entire body. But if a Muslim woman wanted to cover her body out of modesty, she is being punished, penalized, and even fined. Is that fair? In a country that claims to be a pioneer in protecting people's rights? The irony is that every time there is something in Afghanistan, in Iran, in Pakistan, the first to condemn is France. They condemn anything that is deemed to infringe on people's freedom in these countries. The French government is quick to condemn other countries for intervening in people's lives and freedom. But when it comes to its own society, they are infringing on the freedom of over 5 million Muslims, further alienating them and creating the breeding ground for radicalization.
"I do not justify terrorism in France. But what I'm trying to say is, the French government is an accomplice in creating the ground in which extremism is being promoted and encouraged. It is through their negligence. It is through their arrogance that they are helping those terrorists to win their case with the Muslim community. Indeed, all that the French government is doing is just giving a pretext to those radicals to tell Muslims in France: 'Look what this government is doing to you. They don't consider you [to be] true citizens because you're Muslim. They are taking away your rights because you're Muslim. They force your women to expose themselves or to stay home, because they are Muslim. They punish you because you are Muslim.'
"They are helping the terrorists. France is helping the terrorists and boosting their case and their argument. And instead of helping Muslims to integrate into society, and instead of allowing Muslims to practice their religion and their faith freely as we see it in this country, France is so adamant about cracking down on Muslim freedom and the Muslim community.
"You attack them. You deny them their rights. You deny their women from wearing hijab. Alienating them. Turning some of them... some of them... uneducated, ignorant members of the Muslim community to turn into radical extremists, committing attacks, terrorist attacks, in their land. This shows the lack of wisdom that the government in France has been exercising for the last 16-17 years."