‘Why turning into mosque’: Images of Muslims praying at Paris airport stirs row
Charles de Gaulle Airport Controversy: The prayers were offered at terminal 2B of France's largest airport in which around 30 travellers took part.
Images of Muslim travellers in collective prayer at a French airport caused controversy as the government vowed 'firmness' and the airport operator described the incident as regrettable. The pictures which were shared widely on social media showed several dozen travellers in the departures hall of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris praying together ahead of a flight to Jordan. The images come as tensions rise in France amid war between Hamas and Israel.
France's transport minister Clement Beaune wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that airport authorities were fully committed to implementing rules and vowed "firmness".
The prayers were offered at terminal 2B of France's largest airport in which around 30 travellers took part. It lasted around 10 minutes, AFP reported. Special closed areas are set aside at the airport for people of all faiths to pray in private but France limits displays of religious belief in public spaces such as schools and public buildings including airports.
"This is a regrettable first," the chief executive of operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP), Augustin de Romanet, wrote on X.
“Dedicated places of worship exist. The border police have been instructed to prohibit this and will increase their vigilance,” he added warning against exaggerating the incident "at this time", in an apparent reference to the war between Israel and Hamas.
The picture was also shared on social media by Noelle Lenoir, a former minister, who asked sarcastically, “What does the CEO of Aeroports de Paris do when his airport is transformed into a mosque? Is the change in status official?”
French MP Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet said, “There are specially dedicated places of worship at the airport,” adding that the authorities had to implement "the rules that prevail in France, including at the airports".
However Luc Carvounas, the mayor of Alfortville outside Paris accused Astrid Panosyan-Bouvet of "clumsy comments that could be compared to Islamophobia" and called on her to "clarify her remarks or even apologise".