Behold the continued and shameful decline of Europe’s Judeo-Christian foundations:
A Muslim group has asked to use the empty churches in France for Muslims to pray in, solving (at the expense of Christians) the traffic problems caused by Muslims who pray in the streets. Fr. Khalial Samir Samir, an expert scholar of Islam, reflects on the embarrassing proposal, calling for Islam in Europe to become more “European” and less “Arab”.
In a press release published Friday, March 11, 2011, the “Banlieuses Respect ” Collective asked authorities in charge of organization of the Church of France, to place at Muslims’ disposal “empty churches for Friday prayers”. Hassan M. Ben Barek, a spokesman for the Collective, said the measure would “prevent Muslims from having to pray on the streets” and being “politicians’ hostages”…
The March 11 proposal of the Collective, calling on the Church of France, to “provide Muslims empty churches for Friday prayers”, is astounding. These “empty churches” are consecrated places and it would never occur to a Christian to use them for anything other than the liturgical ceremonies, or sacred music – an exception that is always possible. It would be unthinkable to use them to celebrate a non-Christian cult.
On the other hand, a church that served as a mosque would have to be re-equipped for the needs of Muslim prayer. Many typically Christian elements would have to be removed and typically Muslim ones added. And above all these “empty churches” are not destined to remain empty, but on the contrary to be occupied as soon as possible by a Christian community or a monastic community, which is happening more and more throughout Europe. Now it seems unlikely that such a place, more or less once converted into a mosque, could be “repossessed” and turned back to church. It would be a great loss for the Muslim community and could lead to much bitterness and religious conflicts. The Christians would then be accused of being Islamophobic, revanchists, disrespectful of Muslim sensitivities, unbrotherly towards them, and so on.
Finally, imagine for a moment the opposite. If in a Muslim country (Egypt or Algeria, for example) the indigenous Christians (in Egypt) or immigrant Christians (in Algeria) asked Muslims to give them a mosque, since they have many, or to lend them one for Sunday, or only for important celebrations: Christmas, Epiphany, the beginning of Lent, Easter, Pentecost and the Assumption, what would the reaction of Muslims be?
Islam is stepping into the gap.