In the last 30 years, more mosques and Muslim prayer centers have been built in France than all the Catholic churches built in the last century.
The Church of Santa Rita used to stand in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris. A few weeks after Father Hamel was murdered by Islamic terrorists, the French police cleared the church. It is now a parking lot. Police dragged the priests out by their legs as a Mass was being celebrated.
In France there are laws protecting old trees. But the state is free to flatten old Christian churches. The vacuums created in the French landscape are already being filled by the booming mosques. Cowardly French authorities would never treat Islam as they are now treating Christianity.
“France is not a random space… fifteen centuries of history and geography determined its personality. Inscribed in the depths of our landscape, the churches, the cathedrals and other places of pilgrimage give meaning and form to our patriotism. Let us demand our civil authorities to respect it”. Two years ago, the French journalist Denis Tillinac promoted this appeal, signed by dozens of French personalities, after some French imams requested the conversion of abandoned churches into mosques.
A year later, terrorists who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State assaulted the Catholic parishioners in the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, murdering an elderly priest, Father Jacques Hamel, at the foot of the altar. An outpouring of great emotion followed the most serious attack on a Christian symbol in Europe since the Second World War.
After that attack, the French authorities prevented many Islamist plots against the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Last June, police shot a Muslim man outside the cathedral after he tried to attack them with a hammer. Another terror cell of French women, guided by Islamic State commanders in Syria, had previously been foiled before they could attack Notre Dame. France’s most famous Catholic house of worship is a prime target for the jihadists. A t the same time, France has been dismissing the religious and cultural heritage of France’s Catholic patrimony, which, in a time of religious clashes and revival, should instead be protected as treasures and sources of strength.
Last month, around the time of the first anniversary of the murder of Father Hamel, a wrecking crew demolished the famed Chapel of Saint Martin in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, built in 1880-1886 and deconsecrated in 2015. A parking lot will replace the old Christian building. Photographs and videos posted on social networks, in scenes reminiscent of ISIS’ vandalism of churches in Mosul, show the cross being ripped from the church and the church destroyed. A few days earlier, in Rouen, not far from where Father Hamel had been killed, the local authorities ordered the destruction of the Saint-Nicaise Church’s presbytery, for “safety reasons”.
The Chapel of Saint Martin in Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France, pictured shortly before it was demolished on July 17, 2017. (Image source: Simon de l’Ouest/Wikimedia Commons)
In 1907, the French state appropriated all church property, and now an increasing numbers of local authorities are deciding they cannot or will not renovate their churches. French mayors call this process “deconstruction”.
The year of Father Hamel’s martyrdom, France was very busy demolishing churches. The Patrimoine-en-blog website, a platform providing a regular inventory of demolished churches, reports seven demolished churches in France in 2016 alone, and two in the first half of 2017. Along with these destroyed Christian buildings, 26 churches were put up for sale in 2016, and 12 churches were listed for sale in 2015. In 2017, many churches were converted to offices, apartments, “entertainment centers”, gyms and art galleries.
The picture is not promising for French Catholicism:
“Over the past two years, Christian associations have sold nearly 40 churches throughout the country, at prices ranging from 100,000 to 400,000 euros. Twenty-seven other churches have been demolished. According to the Catholic Church, more than 1,000 churches are to be sold or demolished throughout France”.
According to a report from the Observatory of Religious Heritage, presented at the French Senate, France could lose “5,000 to 10,000 religious buildings by 2030”. Every year, 20 churchesare sold and converted in France. The art historian Didier Rykner, who runs La Tribune de l’Art, said that “not since the Second World War have we seen churches reduced to rubble”.
These authorities and mayors, so lenient when it comes to presenting economic reasons for destroying churches, are always generous when it comes to mosques. “Nearly 2,400 mosques today, compared to 1,500 in 2003, is the most visible sign of the rapid growth of Islam in France, a consequence of a population of immigrant origin and the process of strong re-Islamization”, noted an report by the magazine Valeurs Actuelles.
When it comes to Islam, neutrality is abandoned. For example, “the municipality of Évreux voted for the provision of 5000 square-meters of land, for one symbolic euro, for the project of the Union of the Muslim Faith”. The author and journalist Élisabeth Schemla detailed how French mayors have become “builders of mosques”. This is how, in the last 30 years, more mosques and Muslim prayer centers have been built in France than all the Catholic churches built in the last century.
The Church of Santa Rita used to stand in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris. A few weeks after Father Hamel was assassinated by the Islamic terrorists, the French police cleared the church. It is now a parking lot. Police dragged out the priests by their legs as a Mass was being celebrated. “When France is moved by the martyrdom of Jacques Hamel and [then Prime Minister] Manuel Valls speaks of financing mosques and training imams, we do not understand that churches are abandoned to their sad fate and demolished”, Eloise Lenesley wrote at the time in Le Figaro.
In France, there are laws protecting old trees from indiscriminate cutting. But the state is free to flatten old Christian churches. The vacuums created in the French landscape are already being filled by the booming mosques.
Cowardly French authorities would never treat Islam as they are now treating Christianity. Marine Le Pen pointedly asked: “What if we built parking lots on top of Salafist mosques, instead of our churches?”
Trump hails ‘big week’ for historic move; ‘Congratulations to all,’ he tweets ahead of May 14 opening
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gives a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 11, 2018, ahead of its opening on May 14 (Screenshot)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.
“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”
‘Next time in Jerusalem,’ jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; hundreds jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’
Netta Barzilai after winning the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 12, 2018. (AFP/ Francisco LEONG)
Israel won the Eurovision song contest for the first time in two decades Saturday as singer Netta Barzilai clucked and bucked her way to the top of the international song contest with women’s empowerment anthem “Toy.”
Backed up by three dancers, her trademark side buns featuring stripes of pink dyed hair to match her pink-and-black outfit, Barzilai busted her way through “Toy” on stage in Lisbon, Portugal, punctuating her singing with her trademark eye rolls and chicken dance moves
Quoted by US president one day, hosted by Russia’s president the next, PM is on a high, including in the polls. But will this encourage his more divisive tendencies?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Victory Parade marking the 73th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
JTA — On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.
The same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel seized Iran’s archive of its military nuclear program in Tehran and spirited it to Israel, a video was posted of IDF soldiers singing Soltane Ghalbha, a traditional Persian love song – in Persian.
Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.
Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.
Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.
While US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China.
The Chinese evidently see their role in Afghanistan as the “good cop” versus the U.S. role as “bad cop.” Like Pakistan, China seems to view the Taliban as the political opposition, not as a terrorist organization, and has offered itself as an intermediary to negotiate the departure of the U.S. and, thereby, be in a position to reap the economic and geopolitical benefits of Afghanistan as a client state of the China-Pakistan alliance.
Reuters/Ipsos set a new standard this week when it condemned its own polling as unreliably favorable to the president.
“This week’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political release presents something of an outlier of our trend,” stated a paragraph that appeared before the press release on its latest polling even began.
“Every series of polls has the occasional outlier, and in our opinion, this is one. So, while we are reporting the findings in the interest of transparency, we will not be announcing the start of a new trend until we have more data to validate this pattern.”
For the sixth Friday in a row, protestors from Gaza came to Israel’s border with intentions to penetrate it. They come with scissors to cut through the fence, with burning tires, Molotov cocktails, slingshots with rocks, and kites with firebombs attached to them to destroy Israeli farmlands and villages.
This is not some peaceful demonstration akin to Selma in the 1960s when blacks were simply trying to sit together with whites at a lunch counter. The usage of the word “demonstrators” is a misnomer; these are “rioters.”
What would happen if the world took Pope Francis’ advice (via a tweet)? “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war,” said the pontiff.
While on the surface, the disappearance of all weapons might suggest the inability to do violence, in reality, it would mean the certain annihilation of the West as a civilization.
When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.
Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.
“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.
“Your threshing season will last until your grape harvest, and your grape harvest will last until the time you plant. You will have your fill of food, and you will dwell securely in your land” (Vayikra 26:5).
This blessing is promised to the People of Israel on condition that, as a unified nation, they observe the laws of the Torah and live by its spirit. Its promise is quite surprising. Not only will the Israelites have plenty to eat but, as the verse clearly indicates, the Jews will experience an overflow of food. The first season, when produce is brought to the threshing floor, will last until the days of the grape harvest, which in turn will continue into the planting season.