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Muslims ask for use of empty French churches

Catholic World News - March 15, 2011

Muslims in France have asked for the use of empty Catholic churches, saying that this would "prevent Muslims from having to pray in the streets." Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit expert on Islam, explains why the proposal is absurd.

Christian churches are consecrated: sacred places, dedicated to worship, Father Samir says. If they are now empty, it is not by design; they are intended to be filled by a Christian community. To make them appropriate for Muslim worship would mean removing Christian elements and bringing in Islamic ones. Muslims would undoubtedly object if, later, the churches were returned to Christian worship.

Father Samir adds:

Finally, imagine for a moment the opposite. If in a Muslim country (Egypt or Algeria, for example) the indigenous Christians (in Egypt) or immigrant Christians (in Algeria) asked Muslims to give them a mosque, since they have many, or to lend them one for Sunday, or only for important celebrations: Christmas, Epiphany, the beginning of Lent, Easter, Pentecost and the Assumption, what would the reaction of Muslims be?

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 16, 2011 11:57 AM ET USA

    Was it Martial Clausewitz who said: "The enemy never wants war. He would prefer to enter your country unopposed." Why don't we offer them the use of the churches after they are catechized and baptized?

  • Posted by: Obregon - Mar. 15, 2011 11:12 PM ET USA

    The absolute nerve! I would rather see an abandoned Christian Church destroyed, after taking the Eucharist and all its symbols out, than being in the hands of a non-Catholic community. That's how strong I feel about this issue. I've heard of churches that were sold for people to make them into night-clubs. Absolutely disgusting!

  • Posted by: rpp - Mar. 15, 2011 10:56 PM ET USA

    Father Samir has once again demonstrated that real wisdom is not compatible with modern "sensibility" and a "utilitarian" ethos with regard to Islam.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Mar. 15, 2011 10:55 PM ET USA

    What an insane world! Now they are asking,later they will be taking. It's a subterfuge to eradicate Christianity by desecrating our churches.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Mar. 15, 2011 9:02 PM ET USA

    I would rather see the empty churches razed to the ground than to allow such sacrilege.

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