Photo Credit: Jonathan – RT France
French presidential candidate, Marine LePen, has weighed-in on the controversial Islamic street prayers taking place in the Paris suburb of Clichy, criticizing her main rivals and their previous administrations’ ‘’laxity’’ for not tackling ‘’communitarianism’’ and the conditions under which such gatherings are taking place.
Whilst stating her respect for all religions and faiths, LePen made it clear that under her leadership the French Republic’s rules on secularism would be rigorously enforced, as she called the daily gatherings just outside of Paris more political and ideological than religious.
‘’There is no reason whatsoever justifying that we tolerate these proselytizing expressions in the public place’’, she declared – referring to the scenes at Clichy where Islamic prayers are said in contravention of French law – affirming that the street is a public space and that the by-products of such demonstrations would include radicalization.
For almost three weeks, since their expulsion from a public building which they had been using as a mosque – the short-term lease of which was not renewed upon expiry – members of Clichy’s 20,000 strong Muslim community have been praying in the town’s main thoroughfare in protest at the decision, believing it to be a politically inspired slight against Islam.
The large crowds which assemble in front of the town hall – particularly for Friday prayers – and the accompanying heavy police presence restrict the movement of traffic along Clichy’s main commercial street, Boulevard Jean Jaurès.
Photo Credit: Le Parisien (LP
Such ‘’communitarianism’’ has terrible consequences, such as the radicalization and indoctrination of the young, LePen stated, taking them away from republican principles and towards a ”real hatred of France.”
The state should not be in the business of providing places of worship, nor should foreign powers which seek to diffuse their ideologies in France, she continued. Rather, it should be up to the followers of a particular religion to fund-raise and build their places of worship.
Clichy, a short metro journey from Central Paris, is a snapshot of two diverging nations, the historic French nation, moving rightwards amidst concerns over mass immigration, national identity and globalization, and a foreign population increasingly turning to Islam as a religious and political identity.
Whilst some locals are supportive of the Muslim demand for a place of worship in the center of town, showing solidarity at recent demonstrations, others are less than impressed.
On a recent visit to the Clichy, it didn’t take long to find residents who were opposed to the street prayers taking place.
‘’It’s all going to explode’’, one woman exclaimed when asked of her opinion. ‘’The people moving into the area, spending good money on apartments, they won’t tolerate this.’’
A street corner away, speaking amongst themselves whilst an Imam led a hundred or so men in prayer, his voice amplified by speakers, a group of long-time residents were equally annoyed, believing that the Front National would make gains in the legislative elections to come in June (following the presidential election). ‘’This will help Marine’’, one of them predicted. ‘’How could it not? We’ll vote for her and so will many others.’’
An Algerian woman, visiting Paris for two weeks’ vacation was disappointed, branding the sight a provocative and political stunt. ‘’We saw this in Algeria’’, she said, ‘’and it’s not good.’’
However, in a recent demonstration in front of the town hall there were French supporters of the campaign, notably socialist political activists and a small number of white converts to Islam.
The association which is organizing the demonstrations says that it will continue to hold prayers in the street to maintain pressure on the Mayor’s office until a suitable place to pray has been provided in the center of town. The new mosque and Islamic cultural center opened last year is too small and too out of the way to replace the recently closed location, they argue. The more radical elements of initial protests had been expelled from their demonstrations, and the events, it should be noted, had been peaceful, one participant told The Gateway Pundit.
Speaking directly to Muslim citizens in her video address, LePen assured them that she was on the side of ‘’the vast majority’’ who live their faith in a peaceful manner and who are the first to be depicted in a bad light by such demonstrations.
Daily prayers have been attracting around a hundred Muslim adherents daily, with Friday prayers and protests seeing over one thousand attend.
Organizers are calling for a large turn-out this Friday, which marks a month since the first large protest following the closure of the mosque.