Excerpt:

Hemmed in and closely watched by police, hundreds of Muslims unrolled rugs and prayed outdoors Friday in the busy streets of a Paris suburb to protest the closure of their prayer hall.

The show of strength by throngs of worshippers in Clichy highlighted a long-standing issue for France's Muslim community, estimated at 5 million people: a shortage of mosques.

Such protests aren't without risk of a backlash, especially in the politically heated atmosphere of France's upcoming presidential election. Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has previously decried street prayers, part of her anti-immigrant, anti-Islam outlook.


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