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French Muslim leader: Turn empty churches into mosques

by Hannah Tooley

Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris and President of the French Council of Muslim Faith, argued that "It's the same God," speaking to Europe 1 radio.

"The rites are similar. I think that Muslims and Christians can live alongside one another.''

He said that religious buildings should be available for other faiths if they are no longer in use.

During the interview he stated as many as 5,000 are needed for the country's Muslim population: "It's a delicate issue, but why not?"

It is thought there are currently about 2,500 mosques in France with another 300 under construction.

Mr Boubakeur estimated there are roughly 5 million Muslims in France, and gave an example of the transition of a church into a mosque in Clermont-Ferrand, which was welcomed by the local religious community.

The church had been abandoned for more than 30 years and the building was given to the Muslim community in 2012.

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