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Islam Overtaking Catholicism as Dominant Religion in France

France, which is home to an estimated six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union. There are now, in fact, more practicing Muslims in France than there are practicing Roman Catholics.
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Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

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In an interview with the French weekly newsmagazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Alain Krauth, the parish priest of the largest Catholic church in Vierzon, said: “The Christian community is not as important as it used to be in the past. If moderate Muslims buy Saint-Eloi’s, we can only be happy that the Muslims of Vierzon are able to celebrate their religion.” His comments were greeted with outrage by local citizens who are now trying to prevent the church from becoming a mosque.

Similar scenes are being played out across France.

In the nearby city of Poitiers, around 70 members of a conservative youth group known as Generation Identityrecently occupied a mosque that is being built in the heavily Muslim Buxerolles district of the city. The dawn raid on October 21 was intended as a protest against Islam’s growing influence in France.

The protesters climbed onto the roof of the mosque (photos here) and unfurled a banner with the symbolic phrase “732 Generation Identity,” a reference to the year 732, when Charles Martel halted the advance of the invading Muslim army to the north of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours.)

Meanwhile, the Socialist government in France recently inaugurated a new mega-mosque in Paris as a first step towards “progressively building a French Islam.”

The new mosque, located in the northern Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise, is not only vast in its dimensions (photos here), but is also highly visible and symbolic: its towering minaret, which has purposely been designed to change the suburb’s skyline by being taller than any church steeple in the neighborhood, is supposed to become the “new symbol of Islam in France.”

Speaking on behalf of French President François Hollande at the inauguration ceremony of the mosque in Cergy,French Interior Minister Manuel Valls articulated the Socialist government’s policy vis-à-vis the construction of new mosques in France. He declared: “A mosque, when it is erected in the city, says a simple thing: Islam has its place in France.”

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

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About the Author: The writer is the Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.


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22 Responses to “Islam Overtaking Catholicism as Dominant Religion in France”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Given the long history of institutional Catholic anti-Semitism in France, many Jews will not cry at the Church's loss of adherents.

  2. Paul Williams says:

    this article is alarmist an clearly anti-Muslim. Very poor journalism…

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Charlie Hall, France was always big on the pope but very little about Christ being head of the church. so no crying here either.

  4. Robin Henry says:

    People are fleeing from religion because it is an anachronism. Hopefully there will be increasing numbers of muslims abandon Islam too, although unlike the Catholic church, Islam has a death penalty for apostasy.

  5. Grace Acosta says:

    All I'm going going to say is, if you lie down with dogs, don't complain if you wake up with fleas. Jews, make Aliyah NOW!

  6. ISLAM IS TRUTH ISLAM REACH EVERY HOUME.

  7. Froilan Gomes says:

    If the place is going to be overtaken by Muslims, Jews are extremely stupid for not crying at the Church's loss of adherents…three-fourths of all anti-Semitic attacks are now carried out by young Muslim thugs!

  8. Anonymous says:

    A gratuitous swipe. Catholicism (in France and everywhere else) acknowledges Christ as Head of His mystical body the Church, and the bishop of Rome (the pope) as successor of the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ. As to your claim, "France was always big on the pope," that's simply untrue. Gallicanism (look it up) practically withdrew French churches from their allegiance to Rome for several centuries. France may be historically Catholic but there was a long history of uneasy relations between the French bishops and Rome.

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    Christian countries used to burn heretics and apostates at the stake.

  10. Charlie Hall says:

    Froilan Gomes No, France is not being "overtaken" by Muslims. The actual number of practicing Muslims in France is just a few million out of a total population of 65 million.

  11. Froilan Gomes says:

    That few million is already causing serious problems in various French cities. By 2030 that small population is going to become a lot bigger. Muslims do not have to become the majority of any country to take over – they need to be a significant minority. Heck, look at India – they make up only 13% of the population but they have enough clout to make dhimmis of the politicians – and Jews are already being attacked now, Finland has already asked Jews to stop wearing skull caps in most Muslim areas – how many Muslims live in Finland? Try n imagine what it is to be a Jew in France today – now imagine even more of them in 30yrs time – of course the Jews should be concerned!

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