France

Churches-to-mosques comment sparks debate in France

Churches-to-mosques comment sparks debate in France

July 22, 2015

The rector of Paris’ Grand Mosque prompted fury and a viral petition when he casually suggested last week that empty churches be converted into mosques, to meet the needs of France’s 5 million Muslims.

Noting that a community that size requires about 4,000 mosques, compared to the 2,000 in France today, Dalil Boubakeur remarked that perhaps unused churches could be converted, reasoning “It’s the same God, the rites are like neighbors or brothers.”

However, most French do not appear to agree: according to the French Institute of Public Opinion, 67% would oppose such a plan.

France

France is a historically powerful Roman Catholic nation in Western Europe that has a strong tradition of secularism, known as laïcité.