20 September 2011

Paris Bans Muslim Prayer in Streets

Beginning this evening at midnight, holding Muslim prayers in the streets of Paris will be prohibited. The announcement was made by France's Interior Minister, Claude Gueant, in an interview published today by the daily Le Figaro, which noted that ''use of force'' against those not complying with the regulation had not been ruled out....For a long time Paris Muslims have met in the city streets on Friday, especially in the working class neighbourhood Goutte d'Or (18th arrondissement), due to a lack of space in mosques.
Not sure how I feel about this yet. The motives driving the secular government are certainly not the desire to protect Christianity, but rather stem from offended sensibilities against their concept of "Frenchness." I wonder how such legislation might affect other public displays of religion, e.g., eucharistic processions? Or the annual pilgrimage to Chartres (with public Masses and rosary recitations all along the way)? If the French government decides that such things offend their notions of "Frenchness" (remember, this is the country that, a mere two centuries ago, tried to crush the Catholic Church underfoot), will these also be banned?