The Pope’s visit to France is now over, but already there are some repercussions. Benedict XVI spoke at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, delivering a discourse unanimously praised for its high intellectual level. However, Dalil Boubakeur, grand mufti of the Paris mosque, is not pleased. The reason? “The Christian roots of Europe” so often evoked by Benedict XVI. “The Muslim culture was sufficiently present in France during the Middle Ages. You cannot exclude the contribution of the Muslim civilization to French society,” Boubakeur told Le Parisien.
At the website Islamisation, Joachim Véliocas refutes Boubakeur's comments:
Yes it's well-known, in the Middle Ages, the inns served halal meat, French women wore veils, and the peasants stopped 5 times a day to pray on a rug...
Here is what Benedict said about the Christian roots of Europe as quoted by Le Salon Beige:
The roots of France – like those of Europe – are Christian [...] Nations must never allow what constitutes their own identity to disappear [...] and they must take pains to preserve and develop their own culture, without ever allowing it to be absorbed by others [...] Making evident the Christian roots of France will allow all the inhabitants of this country to better understand where they come from and where they are going.
Catholic writer Bernard Antony writes at his blog that it did not escape notice to those attentive that the Pope in his speech at the Collège des Bernardins showed human sympathy for the Muslims, but that he also told them, as at Regensburg, how no text, hence no Koran, ought to be definitively closed to all reflection of the intelligence in the freedom that God has given us.
French Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie accompanied the Pope on most of his visit to France. She must have built up an appetite, since Tuesday evening she broke the Ramadan fast in a mosque in the Parisian suburb of Evry-Courcouronnes and praised Islam and its contribution to France. To do this after being at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, where the Pope delivered his impressive speech, bespeaks her total indifference to the gulf between Islam and Christianity. Like her boss, President Sarkozy, Mrs Michèle Alliot-Marie believes all religions are equal.
Le Figaro reports that she declared that Islam must “take its full place in the French institutional landscape.” “The French Council of the Muslim Religion (CFCM) has definitively inscribed its religion in the heart of the religious freedom of our country,” affirmed Alliot-Marie, who told the Muslims she came “as a friend, and as minister in charge of religions.” She affirmed her “support and her determination to act”, on issues such as the organization of the pilgrimage to Mecca, the feast of the sacrifice – Eïd-el-Kebir, religious supervision of the halal network, the training of ministers of the Muslim faith into the values of the French Republic, the development of penitentiary and hospital charities, and the implantation of special Muslim sections in cemeteries.