France’s interior minister announced on November 19 that Muslims will no longer be allowed to pray in a street north of Paris.
“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).
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), 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.
In response, worshippers accused the authorities of not offering suitable land to build a new mosque and the interior minister acknowledged the need for an alternative: “Muslims must have a place of worship to pray.”
A local Muslim association has said it intends to hold prayers in the city centre next Friday.
According to AFP, the row about prayer space saw around 100 local French politicians attempt to block worshippers on November 10, disrupting the crowd by singing the French national anthem.
The rightwing mayor of Clichy, Remi Muzeau, has argued that another mosque already exists north of the town, but mosque leaders have dismissed that idea as unviable, arguing it is too small and has poor transport links.