Sunday 12 November 2017

Paris suburb halt Muslim street prayers

Tensions brewing over Muslim street prayers north of Paris

Hundreds of Muslims pray on the street in Clichy la Garenne.
This is what has officials so upset
Local authorities and citizens of a French suburb took to the streets on Friday to stop Muslims from praying on the street, amid a constant challenge with regards to a lack of mosques in France.
Walking in line beneath a large banner reading "Stop Illegal Street Prayers," Mayor Remi Muzeau led over 100 demonstrators through the streets of Clichy-la-Garenne to demonstrate against the utilization of the town's market square for weekly Friday prayers.

"We'll do it every Friday when necessary," said Muzeau.

"I must assure the tranquillity and freedom of the people in my city," he said. "We must not allow this to happen in our country. Our nation, the French Republic is ruined."

Local Muslims seem to have been praying within square every Friday for months in a demonstration about the closing of a prayer room.

A small number of worshippers attempt to pray anyway but decided to stay away from confrontation with the protesters and retreated towards a less visible area. However, the key demonstrators pushed them toward a wood wall.

While the confrontation remained largely peaceful, both groups competed in chanting slogans. The worshippers, who numbered a few dozen, chanted "God is great" in Arabic, whilst the demonstrators loudly sang the French national anthem. Many of the protesters were seen waving French flags and crucifixes.
mayor of a Paris suburb tried to block the town’s Muslims
from praying on the street

In the midst of pushing and shoving, a banner the worshippers were carrying reading "United for a Grand Mosque of Clichy" was torn down.

The rival groups were then separated by police officers who made a human barrier.

While the protest drew towards a close, Mayor Muzeau promised of the fact that demonstration will return back next week. The worshippers, who clapped in celebration after performing their prayers, also vowed to come back.

Hamid Kazed, president of the Union of Muslim Associations of Clichy, who headed the prayers, said, "We will certainly continue until there's a discussion for a defined location."

"That's their ambitions. To split the citizens," he said. "We typically are not fundamentalists. We are for Islam in France."

Despite the fact that Islam is certainly the second religion, the nation has a serious lack of mosques for its approximated 5 million Muslims. This has resulted in Muslims in various towns turning to praying on the streets, creating the anti-immigrant sentiment of far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Muslims praying in a street in Clichy, near Paris

Clichy Muslims have been renting a prayer hall from City Hall. However, the key town's mayor thought they would turn that space into a library for the town's 60,000 residents, and the prayer hall was closed in March after a court battle.

City Hall says Muslims can worship a new Islamic cultural and prayer centre, previously utilized by many hundreds when the town inaugurated a year ago. But a majority of Muslims say the new facility is way too small, distant and will not meet safety standards.

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