News Agencies – September 28, 2012
Confirming Islam as part of France, the country’s socialist government has vowed to do more to integrate the religious minority, warning it will not tolerate radical members in the French society. “Islam has its place in France because the Islam of France, it is a part of France,” Interior Minister Manuel Valls told representatives of the Catholic, Jewish and Protestant communities attending the official opening the mosque capable of hosting 1,500 people.
Two weeks ago, the French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons displaying a man said to be the prophet as naked. Entitled “Muhammad: a star is born”, one caricature depicts a bearded figure crouching over displaying nudity. A second cartoon, in reference to the scandal over a French magazine’s decision to publish topless photos of the wife of Britain’s Prince William, showed a topless, bearded character with the caption: “Riots in Arab countries after photos of Mrs. Muhammad are published.”
The French Council of Muslim Faith accused the French magazine of fuelling anti-Muslim sentiments at a sensitive time. The minister’s comments were given in a speech marking the inauguration of the Strasbourg Grand Mosque, the biggest Islamic place of worship ever built on French soil. The new mosque is built within 2km from Strasbourg’s celebrated cathedral.