In a press release published Friday, March 11, 2011, the "Banlieuses Respect " Collective asked authorities in charge of organization of the Church of France, to place at Muslims' disposal "empty churches for Friday prayers". Hassan M. Ben Barek, a spokesman for the Collective, said the measure would "prevent Muslims from having to pray on the streets" and being "politicians' hostages".
In fact, for several years now, every Friday, alongside dozens of mosques in France, Muslims have blocked the surrounding streets for an hour or two, spreading mats on the roads to pray. In many cases, local authorities close their eyes to this offense, and in some cases the police are there to ensure the safety of those who block the streets. This situation is on the rise in France (for example, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier. Montreuil, Nice, Paris, Puteaux, Strasbourg, Torcy ...). A situation that is found all over the world (Athens, Brussels, Birmingham, Cordova, Moscow, New York ...) and also in Italy (Albenga, Canicattì, Como, Gallarate, Milan, Modena, Moncalieri, Naples, Rome ...). In the Muslim world this phenomenon is present, especially in Egypt. On 10 December, in Lyon, Marine Le Pen (National Front) denounced the Muslims "street prayers", which led to negative reactions towards the Muslim community in France.