The French government has taken it’s whole “secularism” bit to new levels, as a ban on street prayers came into effect Friday.
Reuters reports that the government’s new street prayer ban will affect some 5 million Muslims living in the country.
“Interior Minister Claude Gueant directed Muslims in Paris to temporary spaces made available pending the building of a huge new prayer space and warned that force would be used if necessary as police end their tolerance of street prayers.
Seven months before a presidential election, the ban has struck some in France as an attempt to rally far-right sympathisers to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right camp.
At the barracks, Cheik Mohammed Salah Hamza oversaw prayers for Muslims who had migrated from around the city. Worshippers streamed in, spreading their woven prayer mats over the floor of the hangar-like building and out into the courtyard.
‘It’s the beginning of a solution,’ Hamza told Reuters before the start of the service. ‘The faithful are very pleased to be here. The space, which holds 2,000, is full.’
Many worshippers were also upbeat. ‘This will be better than rue Mryha,’ said one man, referring to a Paris street renowned for hosting street prayers. ‘Apparently, it shocked people.'”
What do you think? Progressive policy or political strategy?
Read more about French politics in the Carnet Atlantique.