According to a user of the social network X, formerly Twitter, France has built 2,600 mosques while demolishing its churches. This statement is false, in particular because, since the law of 1905, France no longer builds religious buildings of any kind.
In a tweet that has been liked several thousand times, a user of the social network X says: “France is building thousands of mosques (about 2,600) and demolishing its churches…” The Internet user is actually commenting on an extract from a report broadcast in early August on TF1 on the destruction of the church in the village of La Baconnière in Mayenne.
France builds thousands of mosques (around 2600) and demolishes its churches… pic.twitter.com/ZIqhtCp4dm
— Marc Baudriller (@BAUDRILLER) August 2, 2023
This statement is false for several reasons. First, since 1905 and the law of separation of churches and state, “France”, that is to say the French state, does not build a church, a mosque or any religious building. The communities themselves build and maintain their places of worship.
Moreover, the Muslim community has not built “2,600 mosques” In France. In reality, the author of the tweet confuses mosques with Muslim places of worship. A place of worship can be a simple prayer room, that is to say a room fitted out for praying, and not an entire building. According to a report by the Observatoire de la laïcité published in 2019, of the nearly 2,600 Muslim places of worship that exist in France, at least two-thirds are prayer rooms. So there are just under 900 mosques. By comparison, still according to the same report, France has more than 4,000 Protestant temples and nearly 39,000 churches which still welcome the faithful.
Finally, the church of La Baconnière that we see in the TF1 report is an extreme case. In France, the local authorities are responsible for maintaining the religious buildings built before 1905. But sometimes, as for the church of La Baconnière, they do not have the means and are obliged to destroy the building, for security reasons. According to the Religious Heritage Observatory, more than 500 churches are in danger of collapsing or being destroyed. The common point of these buildings is that they are not classified as historical monuments and therefore cannot benefit from state aid for their maintenance.