News Agencies – July 5, 2011
A large hangar on the outskirts of Paris could be turned into a place of worship for Muslims, with the city’s police keen to stop members of the community from praying on the streets. Police authorities have identified a former barracks that could hold the large number of worshippers who meet every Friday in Rue Myrha and Rue Polonceau, in the multi-ethnic Goutte d’Or area in the north of the city. Prayers take place in the middle of the road because the nearby mosques are too small to deal with the numbers.
The situation, which has been going on for some time, has led to traffic and public order problems, with some local residents on a war footing. The leader of the far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, has drawn on the issue as part of her campaign for the 2012 Presidential elections. The government of President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to resolve the issue.
Police have found a huge hangar that could be turned into a makeshift mosque: a unused barracks near Porte des Poissonniers, between the road heading north out of Paris and the Périphérique, the city’s famous ring road. The building is owned by the Ministry of Defence and part of it is already occupied by an association that provides support for the homeless.