Amar Lasfar, President of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) and rector of the mosque in southern Lille, disapproved of the recent burkini controversy in a recent 20 Minutes interview. “For years, we have tried to attack radical Islam and terrorism, to tell Muslims that France does not target them, and this type of debate and decision has the inverse effect.”
In a letter addressed to Manuel Valls, Christian Estrosi, First Deputy of the Republicains to the mayor of Nice, wrote that “the complete covering of the face or body to go to the beach does not correspond with our ideal of social relations.”
Lasfar states that “the burkini is not part of the Muslim religion” and that he does not advocate wearing a burkini. But for religious leaders, that is not the point of the debate. “For me it’s not a question of religion, but of liberty,” says Lasfar. “But someone tell me what the difference is between a diving suit and a burkini.”
“That’s enough. It’s been blown out of proportion,” deplores Abdullah Zekri to BFMTV. The President of the Observatory Against Islamophobia stated he is “exasperated by everything I hear, Muslims, halal, the burka…”
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, rejected on Monday a mosque project funded by Saudi money. Estrosi intends to replace the project with a new nursery project. During a press conference, the mayor expressed that the religious site would not be compatible with his ‘Eco-Vallé project, which should attract businesses to the area. According to Estrosi, Dalil Boubakeur, the director of the Grand Mosque of Paris, expressed his support over his decision.
News Agencies – March 2, 2011
Authorities in the French city of Nice have forbidden a far-right group to hold a “porchetta and rosé apéritif” outside a Muslim prayer hall. The Nissa Rebela nationalist group says it has already submitted a second request for permission for the event after its first was rejected. The permit was denied on technical grounds, according to the Alpes-Maritimes regional council.
Under French law, organisers must seek a licence for all public gatherings at least three days before the event takes place. Nissa Rebela applied after this deadline, the council said.
The group’s members could face six months in prison and a 7,500-euro fine if they go ahead with the event without permission.
But Nissa Rebela insists that the event is still on. The group is calling its supporters to gather outside a Muslim prayer hall on Nice’s rue de la Suisse, where it will be serving pork and wine.
The worshippers at the hall have been conducting evening prayers in the street, since they say the building is too small to house them. Anti-racism groups and local politicians have strongly condemned Nissa Rebela’s plans. The event is deliberately provocative and designed to stir up hatred, said the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi.