Praying Banned in Paris Streets

The 'street is for driving, not for praying,' interior ministry says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2011 7:17 AM CDT
Praying Banned in Paris Streets
Muslim people pray outside a mosque on the Rue des Poissonniers on August 5, 2011 in Paris, part of Friday's prayers.   (Getty Images/AFP)

(Newser) – Starting today, praying in the streets of Paris is illegal, and Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the ban could soon be extended to the rest of France, particularly to Nice and Marseilles, where “the problem persists,” the Telegraph reports. The “problem” in this case being Muslim worshipers filling the streets during Friday prayers. Gueant says there are two roads in Paris’ Goutte d’Or district where “more than a thousand” people block the streets.

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Now believers there who can’t fit in the mosque will be directed to a large nearby fire station. “My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice,” Gueant said. “We could go as far as using force if necessary” to impose the ban, he added, though that's unlikely because “all Muslim leaders are in agreement.” But a sheik in charge of one overflowing mosque says he's "not entirely satisfied" with the fire station solution. "We are not cattle," he said. (Read more mosque stories.)

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