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French group behind lawsuit against cross on Pope John Paul II statue now fights to save mosque

(Pixabay/Engin_Akyurt)Representative image: A French secularist group behind the complaint against a Christian cross on public land is now fighting to save a mosque.

The French secularist group behind the complaint against a cross on the statue of the Pope John Paul II in Brittany is now fighting to save a mosque in a Parisian suburb.

The National Federation of Free Thought (FNLP), an organization known for campaigning against nativity scenes in public places in France, is now fighting to keep a mosque at the center of a town in Clichy, rather than on a smaller premises outside the city center.

According to Breitbart News, the FNLP is now calling on the city mayor, Remi Muzeu, to reestablish the mosque at the center of the town, and is also defending the Muslims' right to pray out on the streets.

Late last month, the secularist group had proclaimed victory after the Conseil d'Etat, France's highest administrative court, ordered the removal of the cross on the memorial of John Paul II situated on public land in the Breton town of Ploërmel.

The court had ruled that the cross had violated a 1905 law forbidding religious monuments or symbols in any public place that is not a museum, cemetery or place of worship.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło contended that the order to remove the cross was a kind of anti-European totalitarianism.

"John Paul II said that history teaches that democracy without freedom transforms into open or disguised totalitarianism. Our great Pole, our great European, is a symbol of a Christian, united Europe. The dictate of political correctness — the secular state — introduces a place for values that are alien to our culture, (and) which lead to terrorism to the daily life of Europeans," she said.

She has offered to save the monument from "censorship" by moving it to Poland, with the permission of French authorities and the local community.

The mayor of Ploërmel, however, expressed plans to sell the town square to private investors, "thus circumventing the problem" of a cross appearing on public land.

The town was given six months to remove the cross and was ordered to pay €3000 (approx. $3,500 US dollars) to the FNLP.

Due to the FNLP's defense of Islam, critics have asserted that the group's true aim is not the separation of Church and State, but "purely and simply the disappearance of the Christian identity of France."

Other secularist groups have also denounced FNLP for its complacency toward Islam while displaying hostility toward anything Christian.

"Always vigilant concerning the intrusion of Catholicism into public affairs and its financing by public monies, the FNLP is much less attentive to Islam, where its reticence almost borders on muteness," a statement from the site atheisme.org reads, according to Breitbart.

The same group noted that the FNLP has been defending the rights of Muslim women to wear the burqa and niqab in public, even as it fights against Catholic priests going about in clerical garb.

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