French Imam Creates a Mosque in a Box

News Agencies – September 17, 2010
In today’s busy modern world, spare time is an increasingly precious commodity, a truth that has prompted an imam in Paris to come up with an unorthodox solution. For Muslims too busy with work to attend Friday prayers at the local mosque, the imam has designed a portable mosque in box that can be used anywhere. “We can’t always drop things in an instant and go out and pray,” the imam, Hassmem Bounamcha, told news agencies.
The portable unit is meant to substitute a mihrab, or a prayer niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca. Bounachma told journalists in Paris that he has several different models, ranging from a children’s version that retails for €69 ($90), to a high-end model, complete with loudspeaker, for €450 ($588). The collapsible units are made from rigid cardboard, Styrofoam, plywood or plastic. The portable mosques could be particularly useful for Muslim women in France, Bounachma told the BBC, because the impending ban on burqas in that country could result in keeping them off the streets.

“Radical” imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, France deported to Egypt

According to French Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux, Ali Ibrahim El Soudany, an imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, is a “radical Islamicist” preaching “violence”. For these reasons, El Soudany has been deported back to his native Egypt.

El Soudany, born in 1973, preached in several mosques in the east of Paris in the 18th and 19th districts but principally in Pantin and Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).

Since 2001, 129 radical Islamicists, including 29 imams, have been deported from France.

Le Figaro Profiles Mohamed-Ali Bouharb, First French Imam in French Police Force

In this article, Le Figaro daily newspaper profiles Mohamed-Ali Bouharb, 32, the French police force’s first official Muslim chaplain. Claiming to have made a “profound affirmation toward Allah at 17,” Bouharb is a member of mosques in Rouen and du Havre where he attended training courses. The chaplain claims he seeks to “integrate Islam within the heart of a large legal institution, without falling into proselytism” which his position impedes. He offers spiritual support to officers who usually contact him by phone or email. He hopes to organize a pilgrimage to Mecca for Muslims involved in the military for 2011. Bouhard summarizes his loyalties in the article’s conclusion, claiming “Yes, I’m a Muslim, but first, I’m an officer of the law.”