Prayer Banned From Public Spaces

Country: France

Date of incident: September 16, 2011

France banned prayers from the streets beginning September 16th, 2011. The measure mainly aims to target Muslims and their Friday prayers. In support of the new regulation the French Minister, Claude Gueant, affirmed that prayers on the street are unacceptable in a secular country such as France, and police force would be used in case of disobedience. Marine Le Pen, a right-wing French representative, speaking of Muslim prayer meetings, described prayers on the street as a "Nazi occupation". The consequences of a regulation also undermines freedom of religion of Christians, with regard to traditional Catholic processions as well as street evangelisations and outdoor liturgies. It is unclear to the Observatory, whether there will be exceptions granted to such initiatives under the new law.

Interesting Quotes: “... earlier this week Interior Minister Claude Gueant had warned that “from September 16 there will be no more prayers in the street.” “If anyone happens to be recalcitrant we will put an end to it,” Gueant said, suggesting police could be brought in. “Prayers in the street are unacceptable, a direct attack on the principle of secularism,” Gueant had told a news agency last month, and "the street is for driving in, not praying" “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,” Minister Claude Gueant told a French newspaper, the Daily Telegraph reported. ttp://
From a blog: „For Christians it means no more processions of the sacrament through the streets of any parish and no more occasions on which a Palm Sunday march can take place. If I were working in France I would ensure that just such a procession took place tomorrow and every Sunday until I was either arrested or the legislation proved pointless. It is an utter disgrace and Christians, Muslims and people of all other faiths, who should expect and deserve much better must now stand up and be counted.“ Sources: