News Agencies – October 31, 2011
A French court has annulled the construction permit for a mega-mosque in Marseille.
The court ruling represents a major setback for proponents of the mosque, which has long been touted as the biggest and most potent symbol of Islam’s growing place in France — and Europe.
The move comes as a French newspaper published the contents of a leaked intelligence report about the rise of Islam in Marseille. The document states that “even if the number of individuals who have been radicalized to the point of supporting the Jihadists is relatively low, Islamic fundamentalism has progressed to the point where it has won over the majority of the Muslim population” who live in the city and who now number over 250,000. The Administrative Tribunal of Marseille ruled on October 27 that the mega-mosque project would have to be cancelled because of failures to meet urban-planning requirements. The court raised particular concerns over the project’s failure to finalize a deal for a 450-space parking lot and to reassure planners that the mosque would fit in with the urban environment.
Several decades in the planning, the project was granted a construction permit in November 2009. At the time, city officials said the new mosque would help the Muslim community better integrate into the mainstream and foster a more moderate form of Islam. The first cornerstone of the 8,300 square meter (92,000 square feet) project was laid in May 2010.