Praying in the streets of Paris is against the law starting Friday, after the interior minister warned that police will use force if Muslims, and those of any other faith, disobey the new rule to keep the French capital's public spaces secular.The French did negotiate, however:
Claude Guéant said that ban could later be extended to the rest of France, in particular to the Mediterranean cities of Nice and Marseilles, where "the problem persists".
He promised the new legislation would be followed to the letter as it "hurts the sensitivities of many of our fellow citizens".
"My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism, the minister told Le Figaro newspaper.
The ban came into effect after announcing an agreement to offer Muslim worshippers the use of a disused fire brigade barracks instead.Meanwhile, in the Netherlands:
The agreement was made with two local mosques for the state to rent out the disused barracks on Boulevard Ney with floor space of 2,000 sq m (yds) for three years.
To encourage believers to use the new space, prayers would not be held inside the existing mosques for the first few weeks.
"We could go as far as using force if necessary (to impose the ban), but it's a scenario I don't believe will happen, as dialogue (with local religious leaders) has born fruit,” Guéant said.
"All Muslim leaders are in agreement."
The Dutch government said Friday that it would ban face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women because the garments flout the Dutch way of life and culture.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte also announced tougher rules for immigrants and asylum-seekers who want to pursue Dutch nationality; in the future, he said, they will have to show that they have income and that they have not received financial assistance or benefits for at least three years.
The country’s reputation as relatively tolerant and open to immigration has changed over the last decade, reflecting voters’ concerns over a large influx of Muslim immigrants.
“The government believes the wearing of clothing that completely or almost entirely covers the face is fundamentally at odds with public life, where people are recognized by their faces,” the government said in a statement.