Veiled Muslim women protested on Saturday in Central Paris against the exclusion of mothers who wear veils (hijab) from public institutions. The Muslim women joint together with the ‘Mamans toutes égales’ (Mothers are all equal) collective, which was founded in 2011 by Muslim and non-Muslim parents in Montreuil, following the exclusion of a Muslim mother from an elementary school because of wearing the Muslim veil.
The collective of mothers demand the retreat of the Chatel decision of 2004, which they consider as discriminatory. The decision was mainstreamed by the centre-right Sarkozy government, which advocated against the wearing of religious symbols in schools to safeguard public schools as secular institutions. According to the Chatel decision, schools are allowed to regulate their own internal policies in regards to religious symbols, which provides inconsistent everyday practices as well as confusion and room for selective discrimination.
The current centre-left government under President Francois Hollande has sent, according to the group, ‘worrisome signals’ in regards to a future legally applicable amendment. A spokeswoman of the group said ‘We can’t be fooled. There is a tendency to fabricate laws of exception against Muslims in general and for Muslim women in particular. The left has taken the same path as the right in this game’
A debate organized by Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS, Neither Whores Nor Submissives) on the full-face veil in France in Montreuil was intervened by police. Approximately 100 people gathered in a primary school, later interrupted by members of the pro-Palestinian association, Cheikh Yassine. As the debate became heated, several attendees became involved in a physical fight. Police arrived to interrupt proceedings.
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.
Islam is Europe’s second largest religion. But in recent years, some members of Europe’s 20 million strong Muslim community have met strong resistance as they seek to build mosques and minarets, the basic tangible foundation of their faith. Paris suburb of Montreuil offers a colorful study of immigration in France. There are Asian supermarkets and Arab kebab restaurants. Women in headscarves and colorful African boubous mix with French residents wearing western clothes.
A slice of this diversity can be seen in Montreuil’s 12,000-strong Muslim community. Its members, who hail from North and sub-Saharan Africa, represent about 20 percent of the town’s population.
Mohammed Abdoulbaki is vice-president of the Cultural Federation of Muslims of Montreuil, an umbrella group formed to build a central mosque for the city. He shows a visitor the building site for the future, $2.7 million prayer hall, which is now little more than a dusty patch of weeds and litter.
But construction is finally set to begin this fall, ending a years’ long fight to build a main mosque for Montreuil. In 2003, a city hall councillor from a right-wing political party filed a legal complaint arguing that a city lease for the site, for a token amount of about $1.30, violated France’s 1905 law separating church and state. Only last year did an appeals court allow building to go ahead. Mohammed Abdoulbaki. Abdoulbaki says many Muslims were afraid of investing in the mosque because they had heard about the court case. Now, he said, the community has raised about a quarter of the building costs. Lisa Bryant reports.
The person responsible for a mosque in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) requested the tribunal of Bobigny to restrict ownership of the buildings where his prayer halls were built in 1995 so that he can purchase them. The transaction between Mohammed Ta_four and Marie-Louise Duport, the current owner of the buildings, has stalled since 1996 by the pre-emption of the mayor and the ex-mayor who was opposed to Ta_four`s project. The lawyer of the “Association des B_tisseurs Musulmans de France“ requested the tribunal to honor the transaction. Despite these delays, the mayor has said that the promise of the space will be upheld.
This article presents Mohammed Ta_four, a Sunni sheik who opened the first Islamic Cultural Center East of Paris in 1994. Of Algerian-origin, in 2008 Ta_four purchased a series of buildings to expand his Mosque School. Ta_four is characterized in the article as being a learned man who among the Arabic books on his bookshelf, enjoys flipping through his Grand Larousse Encyclop_dique (purchased shortly after his arrival in 1953) and as an old school Muslim who has no problem shaking women’s hands.
By St_phanie Le Bars La construction de la mosqu_e de Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) sera finalement retard_e. Le tribunal administratif de Cergy-Pontoise a annul_ le bail emphyt_otique sign_ entre la municipalit_ et l’association musulmane porteuse du projet. Le jugement a _t_ rendu public lundi 25 juin par Patricia Vayssi_re, _lue du Mouvement national r_publicain (MNR) de la ville, qui avait saisi la justice. Dans son avis, le commissaire du gouvernement avait jug_ que ce bail conc_d_ pour un euro symbolique constituait une subvention d_guis_e.
Kenza Refsi, 18, furtively breaks away from a cluster of friends near her high school and with a shy smile that exposes her braces, she agrees to discuss why her teachers won’t let her dress the way she wants. It’s not that she wants to wear a thong with low-riding pants, or a nose ring, or a halter top that exposes her midriff. Those fashion statements are considered acceptable for teenage girls at Lycee Jean Jaures in Montreuil, a Paris suburb. What Refsi’s teachers forbid is a scarf that she seeks to wear to cover her head in modesty, which she believes is an obligation of her Muslim faith.