“MUSLIMS will be banned from praying outdoors in France from today in the latest move by officials to remove Islam from the public sphere.
Claude Gueant, the Interior Minister, said that the sight of hundreds of people gathering in the streets of Paris and other cities for Friday prayers was “shocking”.
Mr Gueant described outlawing street prayers as the latest brick in the wall that is shoring up the secular nature of the French state. He said that he had nothing against Islam, but wanted it out of the public eye.
“Street prayers must stop because they hurt the feelings of many of our compatriots who are shocked by the occupation of the public space for a religious practice,” he said.
Police could be asked to arrest Muslims who continue to pray in the street, Mr Gueant warned, but officials will initially try to persuade them to move into a mosque.