FRANCE: Mosques popping up like mushrooms, poisonous mushrooms, in Strasbourg

cible-islamophobie-300x202The Muslims in Alsace can live out their faith better than elsewhere. The Muslim community in this region (more than 100,000) concentrates mainly in the large urban areas like Strasbourg, Mulhouse or even Colmar, but not only in these places. Muslim communities are also present in middle-sized and small towns live Niederhaslach (1,400 inhabitants), where there is a mosque run by the Turkish Muslim community. 

Grande Mosque of Strasbourg

Grande Mosque of Strasbourg

IslamvsEurope  Being a very religious territory, Alsace has a regulation where faiths can receive public financial support. This local law applies to the catholic, protestant and jewish faiths, but not to Islam. However, it allows the forming of Muslim communities under the legal regime of the local law if associations of Alsace and Moselle, which is different from the statute of association from the law of 1901. In this way, Mosques can benefit from the aid given by the community thanks to this particular legal regime. For example, The Great Mosque of Strasbourg has been financed up to a 26% of its cost by the local (Muslim) communities.

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It is also within this frame that the first Muslim public cemetery was opened in February 2012 in Strasbourg. Just the same month, Turkey opened a school of Muslim theology, the first in French territory. Furthermore, there are no less than seven ongoing mosque plans. A national record which is explained by the will of the Muslim community in Strasbourg to come out of the shadows and put an end to street prayers.

Strasbourg, France

The mosque in Robertsau district is without doubt the most advanced project of all. The Muslims of this district, who are represented by the Cultural Association Deux Rives, look forward to open its doors in the coming Ramadan.

Further west, in the heart of Hautepierre district, great progress is being achieved in the building of the future Arrahma mosque 10 month after having started. A much-awaited project which will cost between 2 and 2.5 million euros, and which will include a great prayer hall, a double mezzanine, classrooms, a multipurpose hall, a library and a lodging unit, all this in order to meet the new needs of the faithful followers in Hautepierre.

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In the neighboring district of Koenigshoffen, the Turkish community suffers from a lack of space at the premises in Jacob Street. However, they do not see advances in their project of a cultural center. The administrative tribunal canceled upon request of one association the layout plan for a plot which includes the zone on which the center will be built. But the association willing to carry on this project does not give it up.

An application has been made to turn this prayer room in Strasbourg into a mosque. The local people have used graffiti art to express their feelings on the matter. Their messages include: ‘Islam Out,’ ‘Dirty Arabs,’ ‘No Mosque’ and ‘Islam: Ries Collaborator’ (Ries is the Mayor of Strasbourg).

An application has been made to turn this prayer room in Strasbourg into a mosque. The local people have used graffiti art to express their feelings on the matter. Their messages include: ‘Islam Out,’ ‘Dirty Arabs,’ ‘No Mosque’ and ‘Islam: Ries Collaborator’ (Ries is the Mayor of Strasbourg).

The Elsau is another district in which the building plan for a mosque is not going forward. Muslims have been for years looking in vain for a plot of land on which to build up their place of worship. Obstacles had continuously been appearing. Therefore Muslims lack a building in that district in which an important Muslim community lives.

Are the many mosques contributing to the Muslim violence that is rampant in the banlieues of France? Despite hundreds of millions of euros invested in urban renovation to destroy the oldest tower blocks and rebuild entire districts, alienation and poverty in the area is off the charts. The area is a festering sore, illustrated for years by a very high unemployment, a level of crime with no equivalent in the Ile-de-France [area around Paris] and massive educational failure.

Are the many mosques contributing to the Muslim violence that is rampant in the banlieues of France? Despite hundreds of millions of euros invested in urban renovation to destroy the oldest tower blocks and rebuild entire districts, alienation and poverty in the area is off the charts. The area is a festering sore, illustrated for years by a very high unemployment, a level of crime with no equivalent in the Ile-de-France [area around Paris] and massive educational failure.

In Neuhof, the Cultural Association of Neuhof (ACN) is leading the transformation project of a wing of the Solignac armory into a worship place and association premises, a construction site worth 700,000 euros. The work is at its final stage, which will allow 500 devotees regularly attending Friday prayers to pray in suitable condition.

Model for another Grande Mosque in Marseille, epicenter of Muslim crime in France

Model for another Grande Mosque in Marseille, epicenter of Muslim crime in France

There are two other current projects of the Turkish Muslim community. The Association Samarkand would like to build a new 4000 square meter building. The community grows, and their necessities, too. The current premises in Saglio Street do not allow all devotees to be properly accommodated.

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And finally, the Islamic confederation Millî Görüş, which stands close to Necmettin Erbakan’s Islamic Turkish current, has recently filed the construction permit for a mosque, of which there is no doubt that it is the most ambitious among those we have already mentioned above. A mosque which will show the typical ottoman architecture, with two minarets and many domes.

“We are the most important Muslim community in the East of France, it is natural that we should have a proper worship place”, thinks Eyup Sahin, the regional leader for Millî Görüş in the East of France and president of the Regional Council of Muslim Faith in Alsace.

While mosque graffiti in France gets massive media coverage, both nationally and internationally, church graffiti is all but ignored. A church in the village of Chassieu in France was vandalised with graffiti reading “Islam is growing in power” signed Mohamed Merah, the Muslim Toulouse mass murderer. The town council quickly arranged for the graffiti to be erased, but there appears to have been no significant reporting of this event.

While mosque graffiti in France gets massive media coverage, both nationally and internationally, church graffiti is all but ignored. A church in the village of Chassieu in France was vandalised with graffiti reading “Islam is growing in power” signed Mohamed Merah, the Muslim Toulouse mass murderer. The town council quickly arranged for the graffiti to be erased, but there appears to have been no significant reporting of this event.

 

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