Islam Overtaking Catholicism in France

Soeren Kern, Hudson New York, August 18, 2011

Islamic mosques are being built more often in France than Roman Catholic churches, and there now are more practising Muslims in the country than practising Catholics.

Nearly 150 new mosques currently are under construction in France, home to the biggest Muslim community in Europe. {snip}

The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report “Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands.” France’s most prominent Muslim leader, Dalil Boubakeur, who is rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, recently called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again–to 4,000–to meet growing demand.

By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church in France has built only 20 new churches during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.

Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France’s 65 million inhabitants) identifies itself as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of those actually are practising Catholics, according to the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called).

By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million) of the estimated 6 million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France identify themselves as “believers” and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are “practising” Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop on August 1. {snip} Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.

As their numbers grow, Muslims in France are becoming far more assertive than ever before. A case in point: Muslim groups in France are now asking the Roman Catholic Church for permission to use its empty churches as a way to solve the traffic problems caused by thousands of Muslims who pray in the streets.

{snip}

Every Friday, thousands of Muslims in Paris and other French cities close off streets and sidewalks (and by extension, close down local businesses and trap non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices) to accommodate overflowing crowds for midday prayers. Some mosques have also begun broadcasting sermons and chants of “Allah Akbar” via loudspeakers in the streets.

The weekly spectacles, which have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com {snip} have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.

{snip}

{snip} In fact, the issue of Muslim street prayers–and the broader question of the role of Islam in French society–has become a major issue ahead of the 2012 presidential elections. According to a survey by Ifop for the France-Soir newspaper, nearly 40% of French voters agree with Len Pen’s views that Muslim prayer in the streets resembles an occupation. Another opinion poll published by Le Parisien newspaper shows that voters view Le Pen, who has criss-crossed the country arguing that France has been invaded by Muslims and betrayed by its elite, as the candidate best suited to deal with the growing problem of runaway Muslim immigration.

{snip}

[French President] Sarkozy recently called Muslim prayers in the street “unacceptable” and said that the street cannot be allowed to become “an extension of the mosque.” He also warned that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

{snip}

Meanwhile, France ushered in Ramadan by inaugurating a new mega-mosque for 2,000 worshipers inStrasbourg, where the Muslim population has reached 15%. Construction also continues apace of a new mega-mosque in Marseille, France’s second-largest city where the Muslim population has reached 25% (or 250,000). The Grand Mosque–which at more than 8,300 square meters (92,000 square feet) will accommodate up to 7,000 worshippers in a vast prayer hall–is designed to be the biggest and most potent symbol of Islam’s place in modern France.

Boubakeur, of the Grande Mosque of Paris, says the construction of even more mosques–paid for by French taxpayers–would ease the “pressure, frustration and the sense of injustice” felt by many French Muslims. “Open a mosque and you close a prison,” says Boubakeur.

{snip}

Reflecting on the retreat of Catholicism and the rise of Islam in France, Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, an Italian Franciscan who heads the Izmir archdiocese in Turkey, and who has lived in the Islamic world for more than 40 years, has recounted a conversation he once had with a Muslim leader, who told him: “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”

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  • Anonymous

    “trap non Muslim residents in their homes and offices” That would be a push back point for me. I would get a blow gun at best or a machine gun at worst and come up on their rear area (Pun and tactic intended) They`d either have to leave or pray standing up and looking over their shoulder…

  • BannerRWB

    While the levels of those practicing Christianity may rise and fall, that isn’t the main concern. Neither will the precipitous decline in those practicing Catholics bring about the ruin of France. It is a combination of Islam and the African/Arab move into France that is the destroyer. France, all of Europe, the U.S., Australia, and all other White nations have a choice to either gain a sense of racial consciousness and remove the Islamic cancer from their nations or eventually reach the point of total ethno-religious conflict. Why we in the White world chose our current path is something I do not understand.

    – “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”: Here we go with that movement of people again…

  • Anonymous

    France, you still have time. It’s 3 to 1 now, so take heed and take action. Soon it will be 2 to 1. Then 1 to 1 and too late. Act now.

  • HinduCatholic

    I seriously doubt that these stats are going to bring the French back to the confessionals. However, if they don’t like the odds, then why do they keep letting these Muslims into their country? That is rank stupidity. The French should shut their door on the sons of Allah, and any already in their country who don’t like it should be shoved out the door as well.

  • CDE

    I know how this will sound, so here goes. I sometimes think Europe would have been better off in the long run if Hitler had won. Ironically, its the legacy of Hitler that has caused Europe to embark on its current suicidal path. “Hitler was a racist, so we have to be anti-racist and prove it by allowing our culture to be destroyed by foreigners” is the thinking of European elites. What would Europe look like today if Hitler had won? White, clean, orderly, efficient, crime free, technologically advanced (Germany had the best scientists). I hope I’m not offending any veterans or Jews, but its what is happening now that makes me wonder.

  • Anonymous

    Islam, in any form, clashes with the very idea of democracy, even social democracy. That is because it seeks to overlay religious law wherever they settle. They don’t belong in the West, even the best of them.

    Let them have their mullahs,and imams, but in their countries of origin, not anywhere else. It is up to the people there to remain in theocracies or not.

    I don’t want any kind of theocracy, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist – none.

  • Anonymous

    Sarkozy recently called Muslim prayers in the street “unacceptable”

    Yes, but not quite “unacceptable” enough to actually DO anything about it — right, Sarko?

  • (AWG) Average White Guy

    It’s called “cultural shift”.

  • Anonymous

    Nancy and Strasbourg are my very favorite cities in France. 15 percent muslim is like 15 percent black. They will take over Strasbourg soon by violence and force.

  • Fred from France

    It is noteworthy that street prayers are forbidden in Algeria.

  • white advocate – Canada

    As the RCC declines, there will be pressure to sell off treasures in France and distribute the wealth elsewhere, like Africa. This is based on the principle that the RCC owns the wealth and can do with it as it pleases. This principle has to be fought, tooth and nail. The treasures belong to the French people and were only being managed in trust by the RCC. The French have to legally establish ownership. This is too much wealth to lose.

  • rockman

    Saudi Arabia is funding the construction of huge numbers of mosques in the US. Wake up fools

  • patthemick

    Well given the Muslim birthrates this is inevitable. Islam is simply filling a moral vacuum. The thing to do is reinvigorate the churches and insist on more participation. If the people of France don’t get right with God he’s going to punish them.

  • Stonelifter

    And to make things worse…. Just think of all the fun we’ll have when French nuclear weapons fall into moslem hands….

  • Anonymous

    Maybe because the best known 18th century editions (revised) English translated Bibles (the Rheims and King James editions) were deliberately revised in many ways and the “word’s English meanings”(mistranslated) that were not in the 1611 and before.

  • Anonymous

    5 — CDE wrote at 8:33 PM on August 24:

    I know how this will sound, so here goes. I sometimes think Europe would have been better off in the long run if Hitler had won. Ironically, its the legacy of Hitler that has caused Europe to embark on its current suicidal path. “Hitler was a racist, so we have to be anti-racist and prove it by allowing our culture to be destroyed by foreigners” is the thinking of European elites. What would Europe look like today if Hitler had won? White, clean, orderly, efficient, crime free, technologically advanced (Germany had the best scientists). I hope I’m not offending any veterans or Jews, but its what is happening now that makes me wonder.

    ————————————————–

    I have to agree with you. But then, we will be called naziz, racists, homophobes, bigots, etc. I don’t care any longer because I love truth more than I do their lies.

    All we have to do is look around (at ALL White nations) since WW11 and all the policies, lies and distortions that have taken place since to KNOW that something is/was terribly wrong and we were lied to and our “history” has been pc revised (really since the civil war) and we know why that was the case, so they want to stifle any truths that will shine the light on themselves.

  • Anonymous

    One wonders how the history of Charles Martel will be rewritten? Perhaps he will become an “Islamophobe” who committed hate crime violence against Muslim immigrants who were trying to enrich France with their diversity?

  • Anonymous

    11 — white advocate – Canada wrote at 12:26 AM on August 25:

    “As the RCC declines, there will be pressure to sell off treasures in France and distribute the wealth elsewhere, like Africa. This is based on the principle that the RCC owns the wealth and can do with it as it pleases. This principle has to be fought, tooth and nail. The treasures belong to the French people and were only being managed in trust by the RCC. The French have to legally establish ownership. This is too much wealth to lose.”

    Actually, the historical record for the RCC preserving and maintaining not just its churches, but properties exceeds all national governments in Europe. In northern Yugoslavia for example, the RCC was allowed to manage the lands it once held under the Habsburg dynasty. During the discussion in Slovenia of whether the government should take over the management, most atheist Slovenians were all for the church retaining management on their record of flawless management. Private interests wanted in so that they could exploit the lumber, etc. Slovenia and Croatia has the greenest forests in Europe (meaning most natural forests).

  • Baron

    The liberalization of what passes for Catholicism today (please note this important caveat) is owing to the compromising reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Among the most substantial of these changes was the tacit admission that somehow the true Church exists in a significant way outside of the boundaries of what was once considered the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church.

    Such a change of attitude was a prelude to many countries formally dropping their specifically Catholic identity as a nation, culture, and people. Nothing good has come of it.

    Like many White liberals who imagine that their own dispossession is some gift to the entire world, what passes for the Catholic hierarchy today is heavily concerned with accomodating every non-Christian belief and peculiarity to the detriment of its own people.

    Not only are these “leaders” not ashamed of their own de-Catholicization, they actively encourage it, despite a few statements of reservations here and there. Assuredly, no concrete action whatsoever will follow. Instead, they welcome these changes in the name of “diversity”, which is a new “doctrine” born of the the Vatican II Council.

    As stated by a writer of a little known periodical lamenting the changes:

    The revolution in the Church and the world are one and the same.

  • white advocate – Canada

    #18. There is a mountain of difference between France and Slovenia. Without knowing the dates of the events you are referring to, I can still say France today is more significant. It’s not clear what lessons France can learn from Slovenia. I’m pretty sure the RCC is declining faster in France than Slovenia. France is vastly more powerful. Those two close the case. How is the French RCC going to pay for its responsibilities in France and elsewhere with fewer and fewer subscribers? Money has to be found somewhere. French RCC treasure is going on auction and the proceeds are going to Africa.

  • Mike H.

    Sarkozy was parroted as a conservative(but not racist like that evil Le Pen!) candidate that would solve the “ethnic & black as well as muslim problems.” He beat Le Pen entirely due to this, and then sat back and did nothing.

    Sorry Sarkozy, you had your chance. Now it’s Le Pen’s turn.

  • Anonymous

    20 — white advocate – Canada wrote at 1:45 AM on August 26:

    #18. “There is a mountain of difference between France and Slovenia. Without knowing the dates of the events you are referring to, I can still say France today is more significant. It’s not clear what lessons France can learn from Slovenia. I’m pretty sure the RCC is declining faster in France than Slovenia. France is vastly more powerful. Those two close the case. How is the French RCC going to pay for its responsibilities in France and elsewhere with fewer and fewer subscribers? Money has to be found somewhere. French RCC treasure is going on auction and the proceeds are going to Africa.”

    Oh, and that “mountain of difference” based on your knowledge of both is….? You’re just shooting from the hip.

    In fact, it is the Julian Alps that actually separate France from Slovnia.

    Having lived for a few years in Slovenia and traveled France and Europe extensively, as well as being practiced in the two languages, I can write of this with a little authority, I think.

    Remember that this article is stating that there are 41 million of France’s 65 million practicing Catholicism compared to under 2 million practicing Islam! The sky is far from falling.

    On differences;

    First, the RCC in France was never suppressed by a communist regime, as it was in Slovenia during the period of Yugoslavia, when all churches were locked down. Even so, most people in the late 90s were in favor of the church retaining control of their forests (Tito did not completely eject “useful idiots”)than allowing a new and popularly known corrupt government to take over management. And therein lies my point; The RCC has lasted longer than all European nations or their governments have and are insulated from any secular policy. Second; You forget that the RCC in France is not isolated, but part of what can easily be described as The Roman Catholic Empire, which is what the Vatican really is. Not long ago, the Vatican was described as the largest nation on earth, if you count up church owned lands worldwide. The RCC in France is not alone. Catholics in Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Canada, America, EVERYwhere in the world – ultimately supports the RCC in France.

    I visited more Cathedrals in France than anywhere else in Europe. They show no signs of financial hardship as they host over a million tourists a year. Just donations from tourists may be enough to sustain them. We are a long way from the shut down of the Church in France. Local churches in Muslim dominated suburbs are no doubt empty.

    This article is not really about the decline of Catholicism in France (although they want 100% of the population to be Catholic, sorry). It is meant to produce outrage that some churches are considered for conversion to mosques. If the RCC in France was not so greedy, they would just refuse that and keep them shut down, or rent them to private schools or community services such as hospitals, etc. What they are aiming at is a call to French secularists to come and fill those churches.

    The cynicism towards the Catholic Church by many French, Europeans and Americans is due to the revelation of the long and even ongoing abuses of their clergy. If they straightened themselves out more, and showed it, they might regain the support of many who have walked away in disgust.

    The real problem is that mosques are being allowed to be built anywhere in Europe. Allowing this greatly assists in Muslims feeling that the land is theirs. If the EU and the nations of Europe had made that one restriction, many of the present problems that face Europe would exist. Praying the streets is illegal and violators should be cited and fined. Don’t like it, go back to your nations of origin.

    It’s weakness and slick maneuvering that is the real story here, not any real existential threat to the French RCC or Catholicism in a way that a disciplined and honest Church could not manage.

  • white advocate – Canada

    #22 – “You’re just shooting from the hip.” Isn’t that true about everyone? After all, we are living in a postmodern world where it is impossible to know anything in the absolute sense. We are passengers on social currents. This is a famous school of French philosophy; notice not Slovenian philosophy. So whatever claims you can make about the RCC are little more than one person’s opinion. The same goes for whatever lessons you’re getting from history. Ahem … we are talking about the treasures of the RCC in France. What is going to happen to the treasures given the demographic changes coming? This is a vast fortune of money. Guaranteed – there will be fights over it. You’ll have to come up with better arguments to convince me otherwise. I like action. Let’s set things up properly to our future advantage. We can give up a position of strength later if we wish. It’s time for the French government to legally assert ownership of RCC treasure in France.

    Le Pen should make this a campaign issue.

  • Affan

    I am sorry I not answering your question but I must urge Muslims to avoid disturbing other people by blocking streets and using loudspeakers. This is certainly not the way of Islam.

    Moreover, Muslims must remember that attending Friday congregational prayers are obligatory only in a Muslim State.