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Nicolas Sarkozy: “Don’t Turn Empty Churches Into Mosques”

Bourdeaux Church turned into the Utopia Movie Theater.

Bourdeaux Church turned into the Utopia Movie Theater.

Europe has a lot of empty churches, many of which are “for sale” as the Wall Street Journal put it, due to the rising numbers of Europeans leaving Christianity in large numbers.

“…the closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the (Christian) faith in Europe, a phenomenon that is painful to both worshipers and others who see religion as a unifying factor in a disparate society.”  By example, the Netherlands is projected to close 2/3 of its Roman Catholic churches in the next decade.

Pew Research Center data, presented by the Wall Street Journal, highlights the degree to which the European population reports no religious affiliation:  France (28%), Germany (24.7%), Italy (12.4%), Netherlands (42.1%), and the United Kingdom (21.3%).  By contrast, 16.4% of the United States population is unaffiliated with any religion. (via. Daily Kos)

It turns out across Europe these former Churches are being sold or turned into pubs, night clubs, skate halls and art galleries. I don’t know how prevalent it is for these empty churches in France to be changed but the one above is a church that was converted into a movie theater.

One French Muslim leader named Dalil Boubacker’s suggested turning some of them into mosques since there are a shortage of mosques compared to the demand. This didn’t go over well, especially with the Marine Le Pen’s and Nicolas Sarkozy’s (transparently attempting to appeal to the right’s votes) of the world. They demand that you “don’t touch our churches.”

The Local

Sarkozy added his name to a list of signatories that includes controversial writer and political journalist Éric Zemmour and philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, as well as Jeannette Bougrab, partner of the late Stéphane Charbonnier, Charlie Hebdo editor .

The petition, published in the magazine Valeurs Actuelles comes after Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris said he was in favour of turning empty churches into mosques due to the serious shortage of places of worship for Muslims.

In France there are currently 2,500 mosques, with another 300 under construction, but Boubakeur says the number falls far short of what is needed.

With upwards of 5 million Muslims in France – the largest Muslim population in Europe – Boubakeur and other imams suggest as many as 5,000 mosques are needed.

But his call stirred up a hornet’s nest and Sarkozy has come out firmly against the idea. So too has former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

“The French Catholic churches [have been] part of the historical heritage of the French population for ten centuries,” he said.

A poll published alongside the petition suggests they are not alone, with 67 per cent of French people apparently opposed to the idea.

“Even if France [has been] deeply de-Christianised since the 1960s, there is a real commitment… to the Christian roots and their symbols,” Jerome Fourquet, Ifop’s director of opinion and strategy, told the magazine.

Read the entire article…

My only point would be why not assign those historic churches that one seeks to preserve as national landmarks, clearly it is not possible that all or even most of these unused churches would fit this description. If some of them can be turned into movie theaters and used for other secular purposes there should be nothing wrong in some of them being mosques, synagogues, Buddhist temples, etc.

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  • Cengiz_K

    What about the congregational prayer orientation.. Had that to be adjusted as well, I take it that formerly the cathedral was not oriented towards mekka at first?

  • George Carty

    Judaism didn’t die when the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple, and Islam wouldn’t die if Mecca was destroyed (especially if it was destroyed deliberately by Islam’s enemies).

  • Saleem

    I never liked Freud. But he sure went deep. This one is a classical example of what he taught.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    I wonder if he is the same guy who made all those horrible serbofascist propaganda postings on Balkaninsight. But no, it can’t be the same, because that guy has at least some knowledge about the region even though his conclusions are utterly wrong.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Hate speech, fascism, genocidal talk must be auppressed. Always. And who utters it must be rendered harmless.
    Also, continued insult must not be tolerated.
    What teh world is sorely lacking, and that’s what makes continued violence and genocide possible, is lack of respect.
    At the very least such guys must be taught manners. They must be taught to respect the others and if they refuse to learn they must be hit over the head with a two-by-four.
    Or better, be given the same treatment the guy in “Clockwork Orange” was. And then be left to the tender mercies of their former buddies. God, how I would love that Karadzic, Mladic or some other cetnik swine who indulged in killing, raping, robbing Bosniaks would get just that. That woukd hurt them more than being killed or locked up for life.

  • Friend of Bosnia

    Well he wouldn’t let well enough alone.
    It’s true there is a hadith about our Prophet (saws) touching teh idols in the Ka’aba with his staff and they fell down. I think it can be found in Ibn Oshaq’s biography. It is also true that IS and other such groups interpret this as a mandate to destroy all pre-Islamic (and alos a lot of Islamic) artifacts and historic buildings.
    However history has shown that most Muslism don’t interpret it as that. Had they, there would be no historica evidence left in most Muslim countries.
    Also his description of IS abd of the Wahhabi ideal of socienty is accurate as far a sI know.
    But it is most unfair of him and theother individuals of his ilk to conflate the above with Islam and Muslims in general, to defame Islam as fascism and to associate these negative and destructive currents of Islam with Muslims in general. That is hate-mongering and fear mongering. Such talk can lead to genocide as history continues to show.
    Who does that is evil and has resigned from the human race.

  • Lithium2006

    “Shutting down speech is never the solution.”

    When it comes to an idiot like that who offers nothing of substance and knee jerk posts, it’s time to tell him offer something intelligent and respectable or get out.

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