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Fredagsbønn midt på Madison Avenue i New York. Hva er hensikten og bakgrunnen? Å demonstrere plassmangel? Eller vise styrke og dominans? Å vise at man ikke frykter omgivelsene? All trafikk stanser, man tvinger omgivelsene til å bli tilskuere, og i denne påtvungne passiviteten ligger en form for aksept eller underdanighet. Man okkuperer rett og slett det offentlige rom. Over alt hvor det skjer vekker det sterke reaksjoner. Det kan man så reagere på ved å si at ens religionsfrihet blir krenket.

I Paris har fredagsbønn i friluft lenge vært et vanlig syn. Det var bla. dette innenriksminister Claude Gueant siktet til da han sa at det stigende antall muslimer medfører problemer.

Men dette skal man ikke kunne si offentlig. SOS Rasisme var straks ute og varslet rettslige skritt mot statsråden. Tro ikke posisjonen beskytter. Forgjengeren Brice Hortefeux ble dømt til 23000 kroner i bot fordi hun sa noe tilsvarende; at noen få muslimer går bra, men at det blir problemer med mange.

Dette kan man ikke si offentlig i Voltaires hjemland, selv ikke som statsråd.

«It’s true that the increase in the number of faithful in (Islam), a certain number of behaviours, poses a problem,» he said on Monday.
Singling out the «problem» of Muslims praying in the street, he said that France’s secular law dates from 1905 when there were «very few Muslims», while their number today is between five and six million. The anti-racism group SOS Racisme said it would be launching legal action against Mr Gueant for inciting racial hatred.
The proposals discussed last night included banning Muslim mothers from wearing headscarves when accompanying school field trips, and preventing parents from taking their children out of compulsory subjects like gym and biology.
UMP leader Jean-Francois Copé denied the debate was an attempt to woo National Front voters. «They denounce (Muslim practices). We are making proposals» to ease social tensions, he said.
Mr Gueant’s interior ministry predecessor Brice Hortefeux was also charged with racism after being caught on camera saying of Muslims: «When there’s one that’s OK, it’s when there are several that it becomes problematic.»

He was later convicted and fined £2,300.
The row of Mr Guéant’s words came as the ruling UMP party held a controversial debate on Islam and secularism in France. It came up with 26 proposals, including a possible law banning people from rejecting doctors because of their sex or religion.
Muslim leaders refused to take part. Fouad Alaoui, president of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France, said Mr Guéants comments «show once again that the logic of the (far-Right) National Front is taking over».
Several polls put Marine Le Pen, the new National Front leader, ahead of President Nicolas Sarkozy in a hypothetical first round presidential election. The real elections take place next year.

French interior minister facing legal action over Muslim comments
Claude Gueant, France’s interior minister is facing legal action after declaring that the «growing» number of Muslims in France posed «a problem».