SHAFAQNA-Cyril Nauth, a newly elected far-right mayor in the Mantes-la-Ville district of Paris, has set out to deliver on one of his election campaign promises by blocking a project to build a new mosque .
The Socialist-led city council prior to Nauth’s election in the recent local polls had planned to buy a publicly owned building only to sell it later to a local Muslim organization which would later redevelop the property into a mosque .
Abdelaziz El Jaouhari, the head of the mosque committee, told Le Monde “Besides discriminating against us [Muslims], I don’t see any reason to oppose this project .”
“We have been trying to build a dignified place to pray for the past 25 years. Every other religious group has a place, and I don’t see why it is different for us,” he said .
Earlier this month, the mosque launched a complaint after slices of pork paté and a threatening letter was found in its mailbox calling Muslims “cockroaches” and wishing new mayor Cyril Nauth good luck in cleansing the “Muslim race” .
“There is no question this was a racist and provocative act. It is the first time in the 12 years of the mosque’s existence that it has been the target of this kind of racist attack,” Jaouhari said .
Islam is the second-most widely practiced religion in France behind Roman Catholicism by number of worshippers, with an estimated total of about 10% of the national population or 6.3 million adherents, the majority of whom come from Algeria and Morocco .