French Mosque For Refugees Bulldozed


A church and mosque in Calais, France used primarily by refugees were torn down by bulldozers on Feb. 1.

Residents of the refugee camp were reportedly given just minutes of notice before the bulldozers moved in, reports Religion News. 

Help Refugees UK reported “Devastated residents watched the destruction. The bulldozers are currently tearing down the church, while residents scramble to rescue what they can from the building,” in a Facebook post. 

The mosque attracted roughly 300 Muslim worshippers daily, while the chapel was used primarily by Orthodox Ethiopian Christians. 

Help Refugees UK posted the reactions of the refugees as the two houses of worship came down.

“There was just time for a last minute prayer before the machinery tore in.  The pastor stood by in dignified silence, clutching the remaining cross from the Church roof,” the group wrote on social media.

After the demolition, Christians reportedly prayed in the church rubble. 

The refugee camp where the mosque and church were bulldozed in Calais, France has been one of the most populated areas during the ongoing refugee crisis, reports The Washington Post. 

Over 1 million migrants came to the camp via the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, most from embattled countries like Syria and Afghanistan. 

Beginning in January, French authorities began to move the Calais camp’s population into converted shipping containers.  According to Help Refugees UK, the camp’s residents were never warned that the mosque and church would be leveled. 

Caroline Gregory, a member of charity group Help Refugees, described the 9 a.m. demolition to Vice News.

“No one knew, no one realized because everyone was asleep at this time of the day.  So they’d basically done it before people had a chance to realize what was going on,” said Gregory.

French authorities were reportedly planning to reduce the population of the Calais camp, known as 'The Jungle’, to about 2,000 residents.

Calais authorities did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the demolitions. 

Sources: Religion News, Vice News, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Vice News via Caroline Gregory

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