(Photo: Muslims pray in the street during Friday prayers near an overcrowded mosque in the Rue des Poissoniers in Paris on December 17, 2010/Charles Platiau)
A call to prayer goes up from a loudspeaker perched on the hood of a car, and all at once hundreds of Muslim worshippers touch their foreheads to the ground, forming a sea of backs down the road. The scene is taking place not in downtown Cairo, but on a busy market street in northern Paris, a short walk from the Sacre Coeur basilica. To locals, it’s old news: some have been praying on the street, rain or shine, for decades.
(Photo: Muslims in Perpignan pray in public after a Muslim youth was murdered, May 28, 2005/Georges Bartoli)
Marine Le Pen has put paid to the idea she would put a softer face on France’s National Front for elections in 2012 with anti-Muslim comments that have aroused a storm of criticism. Le Pen, the likely next far-right challenger for the French presidency, compared overflowing mosques in France with the Nazi occupation — remarks indicative of a drift to the right in parts of Europe that could let the National Front eat into support for the ruling conservative UMP party in 2012.
(Photo: Anti-Muslim campaign posters by a far-right party in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state, with slogans saying ‘Ban minarets – also for NRW’ and ‘Vote pro NRW – Stop Islamisation’, in Bonn, April 23, 2010/Wolfgang Rattay)
Only about one third of Germans think positively of their Muslim neighbors, a much lower proportion than in other western European countries, according to a new poll published on Thursday. In contrast, 62 percent of Dutch and 56 percent of French people responding to the TNS Emnid survey indicated they had positive attitudes toward Muslims.
First the French banned Muslim face veils, now the Dutch have decided to follow suit. With debates about outlawing burqas and niqabs spreading across Europe, a third ban — perhaps even more — may not be far behind.
The picturesque Austrian province of Styria is overrun by huge mosques with minarets, if you are to believe an online video game designed for the far-right Freedom Party ahead of regional elections on September 26.