The Muslim community is in an uproar following the closure of a city centre mosque that was operating out of a garage. Mayor Christian Estrosi, hopes to replace the ‘nuisance Islamic prayer room with a municipal police station and add some 850 security cameras to the area. Nice’s Muslims have been demanding since 2006 that the city build them a real mosque.
RIVIERA TIMES(H/T Alain) With just one mosque on the outskirts of Nice, kilometres from the city centre in the Ariane district, illegal mosques and small prayer rooms have sprung up in virtually every neighbourhood. On Avenue Saint Joseph sits an old, decrepit garage, currently used as a prayer room and place of worship for a section Nice’s Muslim community.
Estrosi says that it is “in the public’s interest” to shut it down and transform the ageing building into a police station. He says it will improve safety and security in the area and put an end to the “nuisance” use of the garage as an Islamic hot spot.
Conservative Estrosi says that the “suffering citizens” on Avenue Saint Joseph have welcomed the announcement but the news has certainly riled the Muslim community.
Due to the distinct lack of religious facilities in Nice for Muslims, many believers end up heading to the streets to pray.(But that is illegal in France now)The 140 metres squared garage had provided space for people praying who would often be forced to use Nice’s busy streets and back alleys for their place of worship. (Ever think of praying at home?)
But even the garage could not fully satisfy the needs of the ever growing culture. According to the Vice President of the PACA Council for the Islamic Faith, Boubekeur Bekri, it is now a “civil necessity” to build a new and permanent mosque in Nice. The Ar-Rahma mosque in Ariane only has enough space for 800 people and Bekri says that within a city that counts 10 per cent of its population as Muslim, that is “simply not enough.” (How about deporting them, instead of encouraging more to come by building more mosques?)