Mens franske katolikker tallmessig er i flertall, er det flere praktiserende muslimer enn katolikker i Frankrike. Islam utfordrer kristendommen som landets mest aktive religion, skriver Soeren Kern på

Ingenting illustrerer dette bedre enn antall moskeer som bygges, vs. antall kirker.

150 moskeer er under bygging. Den katolske kirke har bare bygget 20 kirker de siste ti årene, og 60 er blitt stengt, hvorav mange er omgjort til moskeer.

De siste ti årene er antall moskeer fordoblet til 2.000, og det er fremsatt krav om at antallet bør dobles for å tilfredsstille behovet.

Islams fremvekst og katolisismens stagnasjon forteller om en helt annen fremtid for Frankrike, og det skjer i rekordfart. Selv for franskmenn uten interesse for religion betyr dette store forandringer.

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. The mosque-building projects are at various stages of completion, according to Mohammed Moussaoui, the president of the Muslim Council of France (CFCM), who provided the data in an August 2 interview with the French radio station RTL.

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.

Tallene Kern presenterer viser to kurver, en bratt stigende og en sakte fallende. De er ved å krysse hverandre.

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. The report also says that more than 70% of the Muslims in France say they will be observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in 2011.

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.


Økende antall og aktivitet får muslimer i Frankrike til å stille nye ønsker og krav, f.eks. har man sendt et brev med anmodning om å få benytte tomme kirker. Dette vekker svært blandede følelser hos katolikker.

Muslimske talsmenn viser til at man da vil bli kvitt alle fredagsbønnene i gatene, som hindrer vanlig trafikk for både biler og fotgjengere.

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.

In a March 11 communiqué addressed to the Church of France, the National Federation of the Great Mosque of Paris, the Council of Democratic Muslims of France and a Muslim activist group called Collectif Banlieues Respect called on the Catholic Church – in a spirit of inter-religious solidarity, of course – to make its empty churches available to Muslims for Friday prayers, so that Muslims do not have to «pray in the streets» and be «held hostage to politics.»

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 (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.

Marine le Pen kaller bønnemøtene i gatene for en okkupasjon uten stridsvogner. Hun får støtte av en økende andel velgere, og Nicolas Sarkozy er nødt til å ta motviljen på alvor.

Many French voters agree. 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.

Imens åpner det stormoskeer i franske byer som viser islams økende betydning.

Meanwhile, France ushered in Ramadan by inaugurating a new mega-mosque for 2,000 worshipers in Strasbourg, 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.

Mange franskmenn og europeere føler usikkerhet for fremtiden.

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.»

Disse ordene falt på en synode i Roma i oktober 1999. Den katolske kirke er tydelig i vånde og vet ikke hvordan den skal håndtere utviklingen i Europa, hvor «alt skjer på en gang», demografisk, kulturelt, religiøst og teologisk.

Bernardinis ord må forstås innenfor sammenhengen de ble sagt i.

“The ‘dominion’ has already begun with the ‘petro-dollars,’ used not to create work in the poor North African or Middle Eastern countries, but to build mosques and cultural centers in Christian countries with Islamic immigration, including Rome, the center of Christianity,” said Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini, a 72 year-old Italian who heads the Izmir archdiocese in Turkey.

Bernardini said he has lived in predominantly Muslim nations for 42 years. His comments came in a written intervention submitted to the synod Oct. 13.

Bernardini was not the only one to sound an alarm. “History teaches us that peaceful cohabitation between Islam and Christianity is precarious,” said Alain Besançon, a member of the Institut de France and a synod participant. He warned that “a church uncertain of its faith is endangered by conversion to Islam.”

Besançon called on the church to educate its members to resist Islamic encroachment.
The anxiety over Islam came into sharp focus at the synod through Bernardini and Besançon’s calls to arms.

“How can we ignore in all this a program of expansion and re-conquest?” Bernardini asked. He urged the pope to call a special synod or symposium on immigration, with special focus on the problem of Islam. The event should include the Reformed and Orthodox churches, Bernardini said.

Bernardini said that while it was necessary to distinguish between “the fanatic and violent minority” and the “peaceful and honest” majority in Islam, he believed even peaceful Moslems would, without hesitation, “follow orders given in the name of Allah.”

Bernardini said a Moslem leader once told him: “Thanks to your democratic laws, we will invade you. Thanks to our religious laws, we will dominate you.”

There are between 4 million and 5 million Muslims in France today, Besançon said, roughly the same as the number of practicing Catholics (the total population of France is 58 million). Both the numbers Besançon uses and the comparison he draws, however, are disputed.

He offered several examples, including the Nestorians, the Monophysites of Syria and Egypt, the Donatists of the Magreb, and the Spanish Aryans. All are Christian communities in the Mediterranean basin that broke away from the church of Rome in the first millennium, most of whose members over time adopted Islam.

Most provocatively, Besançon said Catholics must stop using “faulty expressions” such as “the three revealed religions,” “the three religions of Abraham” and “the three religions of the Book” to refer to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The suggestion was that these terms implied a false equivalence between Christianity and Islam.

Islam Overtaking Catholicism in France
by Soeren Kern
August 18, 2011 at 5:00 am

Europe’s Muslims worry bishops


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