Paris: Muslims in Paris are defying a newly introduced French law that prohibits them from conducting mass prayers in public.
According to the new law, Muslims caught praying on the streets of the capital would be arrested.
French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, who wants to uphold the secular nature of the French Republic, said praying in the streets ‘hurt the sensitivities of many of our fellow citizens’.
Guent added that the legislation would be extended to other major cities where ‘the problem persists’.
“My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism. All Muslim leaders are in agreement,” the Daily Mail quoted Gueant, as saying.
According to the report, the ban has angered some French Muslim in the capital city.
Sheikh Mohamed Salah Hamza, who runs a Mosque in the north of Paris, accused the government of treating him and his fellow Muslims like ‘cattle’, adding that the police needed to act with sensitivity.
The paper quoted another worshipper Abdul Sidiqi, as saying that ‘this is another example of the government clamping down on Muslims, and the Muslim way of life’.
“If they do not want to see us in the street, then they should provide more Mosques. What is going on is scandalous. The government is creating problems which do not really exist to put us in our place,” Sidiqi added.
The latest move follows the country’s earlier decision of banning burqas, and making it illegal for Muslim women to cover their faces in public places.