Saudi funded mosque opens in Nice after 15-year struggle

A Saudi-funded mosque in Nice opened its doors for the first time on Saturday, after a 15-year struggle with the local town hall.

The Nicois En-nour Institute mosque received authorization to open early on Saturday from the local prefect, substituting for town mayor Philippe Pradal, who recently took over from Christian Estrosi.

Estrosi was opposed to the construction of the mosque and in April had secured the green light to sue the French state in a bid to block its opening in the southern city.

He had accused the building’s owner, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz, of “advocating sharia” and wanting to “destroy all of the churches on the Arabian peninsula”.

Estrosi, mayor since 2008, said that the project, which was initiated under his predecessor in 2002, was unauthorized.

People in Nice had shown their support for the mosque, with a petition for it garnering over 2,000 signatures.

It’s no surprise that the mosque is popular. Practicing Muslims in the Riviera city have so far only had one smallish downtown option at which to pray, where worshippers can spill out on the street at peak praying times.

The mosque’s opening was described as “a real joy” by Ouassini Mebarek, lawyer and head of a local religious association.

“But there is no smug triumphalism,” he said. “This is recognition of the law, and a right to freely practise one’s religion in France in accordance with the values of French Republic.”

Ten Muslim faithful entered the mosque’s basement, which can hold 880 worshippers, for evening prayers.

“A Muslim prefers the house of God to his own home, provided it is beautiful,” said Abdelaziz, one of the worshippers who came to pray with his son Mohamed.

In the room reserved for women, Amaria, a mother from neighboring Moulins said: “Today we are happy. Happy and relieved to have found this place. … We are tired of hiding ourselves, we aren’t mice.”

The construction of the mosque began in 2003 in a building in an office district.

July 2, 2016

Original Source: http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2016/07/02/la-mosquee-de-nice-ouvre-apres-15-ans-d-une-gestation-douloureuse_1463633

Muslim woman loses baby after attack

18.06.2013

Liberation

The 21-year-old Muslim woman who was attacked by two men in what is believed to be a racist attack was in her fourth month of pregnancy and suffered a miscarriage following the attack. The woman was attacked on Thursday by two men, who were reported to have ripped off her hijab in Argenteuil, Val-d’Oise, before kicking her in the hip. The woman’s husband reported that the women lost her baby on Monday.

The attack follows another attack on a veiled Muslim woman three weeks ago and days after clashes erupted between Muslim residents and the police after a veiled woman was arrested by the authorities. The local Muslim community reported to be angered and concerned about the rise of Islamophobia in recent weeks. Hundreds of people gathered in a protest condemning the attacks and the French state’s reluctant response to it. Following the family’s loss, the Coalition against Racism and Islamophobia (CRI) expressed its “condolences and solidarity with the family”. The group demands that the “wave of attacks and Islamophobic behaviour requires a strong and uncompromising response from the French Republic, which must express its solidarity with all victims and not just those who the Minister of Internal Affairs deems worthy to empathize with”. The CRI and the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) have denounced on a meeting at the city of hall of Argenteuil the French authority’s lack of consideration of Islamophobic attacks and sympathy shown to its victims. As a response, the adjunct director of cabinet to the French Minister of Internal Affairs, Manuel Valls, sent out letters to both victims and received the first of the two in the Ministry in Paris.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem – the young Muslim woman at the heart of Hollande’s new cabinet

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 34, is the youngest member of the cabinet which assembled under the chairmanship of President François Hollande. She is the Minister for Women’s Affairs and will be the official spokeswoman for the government and, therefore, the mouthpiece for “Hollandism”.

The first Socialist French government for 10 years is stuffed – some say over-stuffed – with messages and symbols. It is the first government in France, or any large democracy, to be perfectly gender-balanced – 17 men and 17 women. Mr Hollande and his Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, have also reached out to racial minorities, youth and the Eurosceptic wing of the French left. There is no message more striking than that embodied by Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, after an election in which immigration and Islam were used as cudgels by both the far right and by the centre-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

A married mother of twins, Ms Vallaud-Belkacem is a “non-practising Muslim”. After winning scholarships to elite colleges, she calls herself a “pure product of the [egalitarianism] of the [French] Republic”.

Hortefeux Publicly Apologizes to French Muslim Community

While he has not apologized for what he said (see: http://www.euro-islam.info/2009/09/11/france%e2%80%99s-interior-minister-accused-of-derogatory-comment-to-arab-man/), the French minister of the interior Brice Hortefeux explained at a breaking of fast with the CFCM (the French Council of the Muslim Faith or the Conseil français du culte musulman) that he regrets the unfair polemic that ensued following his comments last week. He noted that “Islamophobia cannot be accepted in our country” and that the French Republic must be “more than ever, a school of tolerance and dignity. It’s a daily combat that I will take up.”

Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the CFCM commented that Hortefeux is “an interlocuteur who has always been respectful of our community.”