Sharia Isn't Creeping Anymore. It's Galloping!

Paris, 14 December 2010
Muslim Street Prayers in France: From Secret to Sacred
How did Muslim prayer in French streets go from a well-kept secret to a cause célèbre in less than a week? Maxime Lepante has posted some 40 videos of outdoor Muslim prayers in France. Streets are blocked, often with the help of law enforcement, prayer rugs are stretched out, and the prostration begins. Lepante traces the swift expansion of these open air mosques that encroach on the rights of citizens to walk or drive down a public street, enter and leave their buildings, hear themselves think in their own homes or, we might add, feel like they are living in Paris, France!
On the latest video, posted on the 11th of December, we learn that loudspeakers have been added … the better to broadcast the call. After tallying 28,000 hits in 55 hours, the YouTube video was branded “hate speech” and removed. At this writing it is visible on at least one other site:
With one rare exception, mainstream French media never even mentioned these weekly illegal prayer meetings in the streets of French towns and cities. Suddenly (“A vous de juger,” France 2, December 9) Marine Le Pen--daughter and hopeful heir apparent to the leader of the Front National—broke the sound barrier. The snarling Jean-Marie Le Pen somehow fathered an intelligent, personable young daughter who apparently hopes to lead the crotchety old “far right” down the reformist path followed by similar movements in other European countries. Is she sincere?
Can she do it? That’s another question. The traditional Right and Left, on the contrary, want to keep the Front National in its extreme rightful place, draped in fascist remnants, snorting sulfurous fumes of anti-Semitism, marching to old Nazi tunes. Right and Left, each in its way, puffs up the FN in hopes of funneling votes away from the rival party, and then stomps on the FN in fear of losing its own voters.
Concluding a rundown of her program for a new improved Front National—withdrawal from the European Union, the eurozone, and the global economy—Marine Le Pen called for résistance against the Islamization of France. Stockholm’s Christmas shahid didn’t ignite one tenth of the indignation provoked by Marine Le Pen’s analysis of creeping sharia, encroaching niqab, and in-your- face prayers in French streets. Political figures big and small, right and left, lined up to take a shot at her. Quoi? She likened the street prayers to an “Occupation”! Aha! She’s a branch from the father’s rotten tree. Didn’t he say, more than once, that the gas chambers were a « detail » of the 2nd World War and, as for the Occupation, it wasn’t all that bad?
Marine Le Pen, daughter of extreme nationalist Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Never mind that the daughter’s stand is directly opposed to her father’s previous position. She used the word “Occupation,” so it proves she is a neo- Nazi xenophobic anti-Semite. If she had launched into a tirade against Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian lands and genocide of its rightful inhabitants… if she had denounced Gaza the open-air prison instead of rue Myrha the open-air mosque, her credentials would have been burnished.
The next day, far from retracting, Marine Le Pen elaborated: We had the veil, more and more veils; then the burqa, and now prayers in the street. “Of course they didn’t come with tanks and soldiers, but it’s still an Occupation…” Socialist Party spokesman Benoît Hamon accused her of insulting the grandchildren of the Algerians who liberated Marseille [from the German occupation] at a time when her far right party was collaborationist. Cécile Duflot, leader of the Europe Ecology-Green Party coalition, decried a dangerous discourse that could cause a rift in society. François Baroin, Budget Minister in the UMP government, denounces a provocation…another illustration that nationalism means ‘hatred of Others.’
For several days the media churned and burned with contempt for Marine Le Pen, welcomed with open arms a variety of distressed Muslims stung by her outrageous comparisons… and studiously avoided the concrete reality of those outdoor prayers.  Who, what, when, where? Nothing! It was obvious from the endless threads of well-informed readers’ comments—largely critical of Muslim prayer in the streets -- that Lepante’s videos are making a strong impression. Finally, on December 13th, France 2 got down to the nitty gritty with a long shot of a street filled with upended posteriors. This was followed by statistical and political manipulations: the number of supposedly observant Muslims divided by the number of mosques equals Friday prayers in the street. For local authorities whose streets are involved, the solution is obvious: build more mosques instead of slandering the unfortunate back-bending worshippers. The state-owned TV network, like all our Western media, doubles as doctor in Islamic theology. Prayers, we are told, must take place at a precisely ordained hour-minute-second, precluding staggered services that could accommodate entire congregations under the mosque roof.
But Maxime Lepante has observed street-praying Muslims arriving in droves by metro, praying openly on rue Myrha and then, at the end of that service, shuffling over to the second outdoor venue where, notwithstanding the theological orthodoxy of France 2, a service is just beginning.
Firstly the road is illegally blocked off.
Carpets are brought into the street.
The carpets are laid across the wet pavement.
The prayer session is ready to start. (Stills from Maxime Lepante’s video)
MRAP (anti-racist movement) and LDH (Human Rights League), NGOs that march with pro-Hamas demonstrators shouting “Death to the Jews” are suing Marine Le Pen for hate speech. They’re throwing Riposte Laïque—the site that publishes Lepante’s videos and articles-- into the cauldron for “explicitly approving” Le Pen’s offensive statements, having published “terrible accusations against believers in Islam” for months prior to her declaration. (This a-chronological reasoning is typical of Islamic thought.)
Above is a video by Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News, detailing the illegal prayer sessions in the rue Myrha. Featured on the video is philosopher Radu Stoenescu, a senior writer for Riposte Laïque.
As long as information on the illegal occupation of certain French streets for ostentatious Muslim prayers was kept on the cyber-fringes of national media, the practice could develop unhindered, neither officially approved nor prohibited. Marine Le Pen, who claims that Islamism is totalitarianism, forced the issue to the forefront at a time when political parties are preparing for the 2012 presidential campaign. Unfortunately, the reaction of the governing UMP, only slightly less vehement than the hysteria of the leftwing opposition, leaves the Front National alone to take a courageous stand on a vital question.
Lumping all Muslims together, opinion-makers deliberately ignore tensions within the Muslim community between those who want to live peacefully in France and those who want to be left in peace to destroy French society. Who exactly organizes the open-air mosques? Has anyone verified the alleged overflow crowds at existing mosques? And even if they are filled to the gills, does that justify blocking streets for prayer? Is it truly impossible for Muslim residents of a European country to stagger Friday services in order to accommodate, if only temporarily, all worshippers under a decent roof?
Above and beyond any practical consideration, the reaction to Marine Le Pen’s declaration stands as proof of its validity: criticism of any aspect of Islamic thought or practice instantly provokes a sharia-compliant defense. The illegal appropriation of a few dozen streets is revealed as an effective waqf operation. Not only those streets, but the entire surface of the French Republic and its collective soul submit to the law of Islam, sharia law. Before being justified as a practical solution to an architectural problem, outdoor Muslim prayer services were sanctified. Marine Le Pen is denied the right, in her rôle as a French politician, to denounce the practice. Her statements are not debated on the same score as her promise to take France out of the eurozone, they are condemned as blasphemy.
Is this, as Le Pen claims, an Occupation, comparable to the Nazi invasion of a prostrate France in 1940? I don’t think so. I think the correct term is “jihad.” And the parliamentary Right better find a strategy to identify and counter that danger, because something greater than the 2012 elections is at stake. Contributing Editor Nidra Poller is an American novelist and journalist living in Paris since 1972. She publishes regularly in the Wall Street Journal Europe, New English Review, and other outlets. 

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