The Grand Mosque of Paris has threatened to file a discrimination lawsuit against the French government if it is not allowed to open to worshippers before the end of Ramadan.
Head of the Grand Mosque Chems-Eddine Hafiz expressed anger at the announcement that mosques, churches, and other places of worship under lockdown due to the Wuhan coronavirus would not be opened earlier than May 29th, several days after the end of the Muslim holy month.
Mr Hafiz, who is also a lawyer, called on President Emmanuel Macron’s government to open places of worship on May 24th to coincide with the Islamic holiday of Eid to celebrate the end of Ramadan and said that legal action would be undertaken otherwise, Le Figaro reports.
“The holiday of Eid which closes the holy month of Ramadan is as important as Jewish or Christian Pentecost,” he said and added he was prepared to “use all legal means to defend the moral interests of Muslims in France”.
Pentecost, also called Whitsun, takes place on May 31st, two days after the lifting of the lockdown measures for places of worship. While the Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins at sunset on May 28th and ends at sundown on May 30th. The timing of the lifting of the lockdown Hafiz argued was “de facto excluding Muslim worship”.
Merkel's Party Backs Public Islamic Prayer Broadcasts During Ramadan https://t.co/Gu8zSEabDm
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“Muslims, linked to the National Federation of the Great Mosque of Paris (GMP), which I have the honour to represent, would not understand this unfair measure of the ‘double standards’, the feast of Eid being separated from Jewish and Christian Pentecost by only four days,” he added.
Many other countries have prohibited worship during their own coronavirus lockdown measures, but some have made concessions to Muslims by allowing the Islamic call to prayer to be broadcast during the month of Ramadan.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and several other parties supported the public broadcast of the Muslim call to prayer.
CDU religious policy spokesman Christoph de Vries argued that he “therefore considers temporary permission to allow the call to prayer as a symbolic sign of solidarity and common ground to be justifiable”.
In Canada, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie also amended local bylaws to allow for the broadcast, saying the move “will provide inspiration, familiarity, and comfort to our city’s Muslim community during this challenging time”.