Rabat - Al Badr Muslim Association has reportedly purchased the premises of the synagogue Or Torah located near the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France.
Rabat – Al Badr Muslim Association has reportedly purchased the premises of the synagogue Or Torah located near the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France.
Purchased for approximately $400,000, the Muslim Association will reopen the religious site as a mosque this summer, hoping to cater to a growing number of worshipers.
According to the French daily La Provence, Saint Dominique Street already has one mosque operated by the Al Badr Association. The association has been searching for another place to host the growing number of Muslim worshipers in the neighborhood, who pray on the sidewalk on Fridays.
Local Jewish leader Zvi Ammar later confirmed the news to Agence France-Presse (AFP), adding that the sale should be viewed “positively.”
“We all have the same God,” Ammar said. “The main thing is for this to proceed in harmony.”
Elie Berrebi, Director of Marseille’s Central Jewish Consistoire, a body governing Jewish congregations, said many of the Jewish residents in Marseille are leaving the city, mainly for Israel and the UK, because of rising anti-Semitism in the area.
Berrebi added that more than 80 percent of Marseille’s Jews no longer go to central synagogues, since the areas around Jewish religious sites are viewed as a high security risk, after the terrorist attacks that rocked France in 2015.
According to AFP, Marseille has a population of nearly two million. Muslims account for approximately 250,000 of Marseille residents, of whom some 70,000 are practicing.
According to the Washington Post, the Muslim community is growing across France.
The Pew Research Center revealed that Islam is the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with the number of Muslims expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.
Although French law doesn’t allow the collection of religious data in the country’s census, it is estimated that Muslims make up 5 to 12 percent of France’s total population, according to the Washington Post.
Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP via Getty Images