Aug 21 2015
One year in office and Mantes-la-Ville Mayor Cyril Nauth has made good on a campaign promise to stop construction of proposed mosque and build a larger police station on the property instead.
France 24 Mantes-la-Ville Mayor Cyril Nauth had promised to block the project, citing problems in the neighbourhood where the future mosque was supposed to stand, as well as potential financial liabilities for the local government.
The previous Socialist-led city council approved in October a measure to purchase a publicly owned building and then resell the property to the local Muslim organization, who would be in charge of transforming it into a place of worship.
Nauth, a member of the conservative anti-Islam National Front (FN) party, expressed concern that the religious group might fail to disburse city hall the 650,000 euros needed for the purchase of the property.
Le Figaro (h/t bonapak) The mayor wanted to install a municipal police station in the old treasury building instead of having it converted into a mosque. (A large police station is much better use of the space when you have a significant Muslim population in the area)
The municipality wished to transfer its municipal police, from its current 90 m2 local to this new place, making 300, and bear the numbers 10 to 13. The basement could be used to install the archives of the city. A “serious, solid and concrete” project, inspired by the “general interest” which is not the case “of a Muslim place of worship,” while advancing the municipality to justify its project.
The situation was blocked for two years as the Muslims appealed to the former socialist government to gain approval for the mosque. This building belongs to the Community of Agglomeration of Mantes en Yvelines (Camy). Consulted on the operation, the State recommended that the building be sold initially in the city, which legally has the political powers regarding the Islamic cult. The city would then sell the building to the Muslim Association. A sales agreement was signed in 2014.
Part of the reason the current mayor won the election was his strong opposition to the mosque. The Versailles Administrative Court has suspended the project based on a provision that blocks the construction of places of worship which ironically, was launched by the previous socialist government.
France 24 “Besides discriminating against us [Muslims], I don’t see any reason to oppose this project,” Albelaziz El Jaouhari, a Muslim leader in Mantes-la-Ville, told Le Monde. “We have been trying to build a dignified place to pray for the past 25 years. Every other religious group has a place, and I don’t see why it is different for us.”
Muslim residents of Mantes-la-Ville, a town of 19,000 west of the French capital, currently gather for prayer in a building that is rented from the local government. But leaders say the space is too small and does not meet building codes.
Nauth was among a handful of candidates from the anti-Muslim immigration National Front who won municipal elections across France last year. However, he holds the distinction of being the only FN member to become a mayor in Ile-de-France, or the Paris metropolitan region.
Muslims in Mantes-la-Ville have expressed concern over what they said has become an increasingly hostile environment since Nauth won the March 30 ballot. Pork pâté, which like all pork products is considered unclean by Muslims, was left in their mosque’s mailbox last year.
Socialist/Leftist parties crushed by the National Front in 2014.