'There are enough mosques' in France, says Front National vice-president
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France does not need more mosques because “100 per cent of places of radicalisation are mosques", Florian Philippot, the vice-president of the far-right Front National party, has told French media.
The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Dalil Boubakeur, made calls over the weekend for doubling the number of mosques in two years to address the lack of places of worship for millions of French Muslims. There are currently 2,200 mosques in the country.
"I think there are enough mosques," Philippot said in an interview on television station iTELE on Monday.
To meet Boubakeur’s request “would mean three mosques a day, a mosque every eight hours it would be the largest construction project in France", Philippot said.
The construction of new mosques also raises the question of who would fund them. France’s laws prohibit the state from directly financing the building of places of worship, while the French government has recently sought to prevent the funding of mosques by foreign states.
“We know that there is a game of influence between foreign countries that fund mosques: Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia," Philippot said.
Boubakeur, who is also rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, raised the need for more places of worship at the annual meeting of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, a four-day event which brings together more than 250 French Muslim associations.
Monsignor Ribadeau-Dumas, spokesperson for the Bishops' Conference of France, described it as a “legitimate” demand.
“Muslims should, like Christians and Jews, be able to practise their religion,” he told French radio station Europe 1.
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