French Muslims in Paris suburb left with nowhere to pray as street worshipping is banned
Muslims in Clichy La Garenne had taken to praying in the street after their local mosque was closed
Muslims in a Paris suburb are no longer allowed to pray in the street, France’s interior minister Gerard Collomb has said.
Worshippers in the multi-ethnic area of Clichy-la-Garenne in the northwest of the French capital, had taken to praying outside every Friday after their local mosque was shut down.
However, after clashes with residents and politicians protesting the street prayers, French authorities have moved to ban worshipping in the public space.
"They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying," Mr Collomb told Questions Politics.
But the French minister agreed that worshippers must be given an alternative place to pray. "Muslims must have a place of worship to pray," he said.
"We will make sure we resolve this conflict in the next few weeks," he added.
The ban follows a demonstration earlier this month by around 100 Politicians, who marched on a street in Clichy singing the French national anthem, protesting the public prayers.
The politicians, made up of councillors and MPs from centre-right wing parties, argued public prayers were unacceptable in the secular country.
Paris’ right-wing mayor Rémi Muzeau, led the march, had called for senior politicians to ban street worshipping, which had been taking place for nine months.
Mr Muzeau said that Muslims could use another mosque in the north of the city. However, local Islamic leaders argued this would be impractical, given the mosque’s small size.
Clashes over spaces for Muslims to pray is a common occurrence in France, which has the largest Muslim minority in Europe.
In 2010, leader of the far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen likened street prayers to an “occupation” similar to the one carried out by Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
Ms Le Pen was prosecuted for inciting racial hatred for the comment but later acquitted in 2015.
Updated: November 21, 2017 06:53 AM