French Muslims demonstrate against closure of prayer hall

These protestors are on a silent march. They say they have had enough of Islamophobia from the Mayor of Montrouge, a suburb south of Paris.

This used to be a garage. After getting all legal permits, local Muslims converted it into a prayer hall.

Now, the Mayor insists that the hall must be shut down due to security concerns. This would leave Muslims without a space for prayers and all technical and safety records admit that there are no such concerns.

Even the Mayor’s team supports the Muslims in Montrouge. Members of the mosque taking part in this demonstration say they have support from every high authority except the Mayor of Montrouge.

The Mayor belongs to the right wing UDI party, an ally of the previous government of president Nicolas Sarkozy. Observers say Muslims are being singled out as the local scapegoats.

Under the Socialist government, big mosques have been opened in big cities like Nantes and Strasburg. They have solved the problem of a severe lack of religious space for Muslims, but as these Muslims in Montrouge say, they have been left out.

At the time of demonstration, the Mayor is away on leave, which the protesters believe is a clear sign: things may not improve anytime soon.

Press TV, 27 April 2013

Update:  For further coverage of the protest, see Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France, 2 May 2013