“Threats or acts of violence targeted the mosques of Beziers and Bordeaux, I asked the prefects of the departments concerned to protect these places of worship. Such acts are unacceptable on the soil of the republic,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.
The remarks came amid nationwide rallies to demand justice for a teacher who was allegedly beheaded outside his school in a suburb in the French capital, Paris. Samuel Paty, a history teacher, had raised controversy and provoked anger by showing blasphemous cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to his students.
Paty was murdered on Friday by an 18-year-old assailant, identified as Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police soon after the killing.
Police have made arrests as part of an investigation into the incident, without providing any details.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Paty was murdered because he “taught freedom of expression.”
Macron has recently come under fire for describing Islam as “a religion that is today in crisis all over the world.” He made the remark on October 2 — before the alleged beheading of Paty.
French Muslims criticized the remark, voicing concern that the speech would trigger hate crimes against them.
As part of a crackdown against Muslims, French authorities have already ordered a six-month shutdown of the Grand Mosque of Pantin in a low-income Paris suburb.