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France Closes Street for Jewish High Holidays

The French city of Metz has closed a street at the start of Rosh Hashana, which will remain until end of Yom Kippur; decision has resulted in an angered response from some Muslims

By: Graham Sigurdson
Published: September 9th, 2013 in News » World
Metz, France

In France, on September 6th, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the city of Metz closed a street to vehicular traffic. The street will reopen at the end of Yom Kippur, on September 14.

JTA reports that Rabbin Bloch Street houses several Jewish institutions, and the region’s transport company cited ‘Jewish Holidays' as the reason for the street’s closure. Metz is located 40 miles northwest of Strasbourg in Eastern France. The city had a Jewish population of about 4,000 in 1987; the Jewish community in Metz was established during the 16th century.

Some Muslims spoke out against the closure, saying it represents a double standard that French authorities have towards Jewish and Muslim sensibilities when applying the separation of church and state. islametinfo.fr, a leading Muslim site in France, published an editorial that stated although "it is normal for residents to respect the wishes of others in special moments," the closure of the street in Metz "begs comparison" to a 2001 ban on street prayers by Muslims in Paris. The street prayers were a result of overcrowding at a local mosque.

At that time, Marine Le Pen, leader of the ultranationalist group Front Naitonal, compared the prayers to "the occupation," making a direct relation between Muslims and the Nazi occupation of France.

Related articles: Israel News, Jewish News, France, Yom Kippur, High Holidays
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