That is something that remains to be seen.
French authorities will stop Muslims from praying in a street north of Paris, the country’s interior minister said on Sunday, after a series of protests by lawmakers and locals over what they view as an unacceptable use of public space.
“They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Questions Politics (Franceinfo, France Inter, Le Monde).
Prayers in the street have taken place every Friday in the multiethnic suburb of Clichy-la-Garenne since March to protest the closure of a popular local mosque that had operated in a government building but since been turned into a library.
Gerard Collomb reiterated his opposition to prayers staged by the Union of Muslim Worship and Cultural Associations of Clichy-la-Garenne (UAMC) every Friday in the city center since March after a hall they had rented from the town was remodeled into a multimedia library under the new mayor. A dedicated worship center has been built since then, but local Muslims are unhappy about its location and size.
…going on since March, when police were called to expel the UAMC from the premises pursuant to a court order, reaffirmed by the Council of State in November of last year. In response to the eviction, the UAMC called for street prayers to be held in front of the building, which is located in downtown Clichy.
…the interior minister acknowledged the need for an alternative: “Muslims must have a place of worship to pray…We will make sure we resolve this conflict in the next few weeks,” he added.Clichy Mayor Rémi Muzeau from The Republicans (LR) party, who is responsible for the repurposing of the premises, says there is no need for a new prayer room, as there is already a new center – the Clichy Muslim Cultural and Worship Center (ACCCMC) to the north of the town.
A local Muslim association has said it intends to hold prayers in the city centre next Friday.
France has around
five ten million Muslims, and concern about the religion challenging the country’s strict secular laws was a major theme in this year’s presidential election.