French PM Valls 'open' to ban on foreign financing of mosques, says release of church attacker was 'failure'

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 27 for a meeting with French President and French representatives of the different religion following yesterday attack at a church in Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouveray.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris on July 27 for a meeting with French President and French representatives of the different religion following yesterday attack at a church in Saint-Etienne-Du-Rouveray.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France's prime minister said on Friday (July 29) he was "open" to a temporary ban on the foreign financing of mosques, after a spate of attacks in the country claimed by Islamist militants.

Mr Manuel Valls also admitted in an interview with the Le Monde daily it was a "failure" that one of the militants who attacked a church and killed a priest earlier this week had been released with an electronic tag.

Mr Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have come under fire for perceived security failings that have failed to prevent three major terror attacks in France in 18 months.

The fact that one of the church attackers, 19-year-old Adel Kermiche, was awaiting trial on terror charges and had been fitted with an electronic tag means judges needed to take a "different, case-by-case, approach", Mr Valls said.

However, the Prime Minister stressed that the judges in this individual case should not be held responsible for this "act of terrorism".

And as the killing of a priest at the altar of his church sparked fears of religious tensions in secular France, Mr Valls said the country needed to "invent a new relationship" with Islam.

"We need to reset and invent a new relationship with Islam in France," he said. He added he was "open to the idea that - for a period yet to be determined - there should be no financing from abroad for the construction of mosques".

Mr Valls also called for imams to be "trained in France, not elsewhere".