Hemmed in and closely watched by police, hundreds of Muslims have unrolled rugs and mats and prayed outdoors in the busy streets of a Paris suburb to protest the closure of their prayer hall. The show of strength Friday…
Clichy City Hall wants to turn the rented prayer hall the worshippers were using into a multimedia library for the town’s 60,000 residents. City Hall refused to renew the three-year lease when it expired last June and, following a court battle, closed down the prayer hall last week with help from French police. It says Muslims can worship at a new Islamic cultural and prayer center, already used by hundreds of people, the town inaugurated last year.
However, the Muslim group that helped organize Friday’s protest and which is calling for another demonstration Sunday says the new mosque is too small and remote.
The building is a disused former office block that City Hall “turned into a mosque by throwing down a few rugs,” said Smail El-Baz, a spokesman for the group.
He warned that the closure of their prayer hall could drive worshippers underground and increase the risk of them becoming radicalized.
The group wants its prayer hall reopened until the end of Ramadan in July and space for the building of a new mosque.
Clichy, vendredi 31 mars 2017. Près de 800 personnes ont prié boulevard Jean-Jaurès ce vendredi pour contester la fermeture de la salle de prière rue Estienne d’Orves.