PARIS - Friday in Paris. A hidden camera shows streets blocked by huge crowds of Muslim worshippers and enforced by a private security force.
This is all illegal in France: the public worship, the blocked streets, and the private security. But the police have been ordered not to intervene.
It shows that even though some in the French government want to get tough with Muslims and ban the burqa, other parts of the French government continue to give Islam a privileged status.
An ordinary French citizen who has been watching the Islamization of Paris decided that the world needed to see what was happening to his city. He used a hidden camera to start posting videos on YouTube. His life has been threatened and so he uses the alias of "Maxime Lepante. "
His camera shows that Muslims "are blocking the streets with barriers. They are praying on the ground. And the inhabitants of this district cannot leave their homes, nor go into their homes during those prayers."
"The Muslims taking over those streets do not have any authorization. They do not go to the police headquarters, so it's completely illegal," he says.
The Muslims in the street have been granted unofficial rights that no Christian group is likely to get under France's Laicite', or secularism law.
"It says people have the right to share any belief they want, any religion," Lepante explained. "But they have to practice at home or in the mosque, synagogues, churches and so on."
Some say Muslims must pray in the street because they need a larger mosque. But Lepante has observed cars coming from other parts of Paris, and he believes it is a weekly display of growing Muslim power.
"They are coming there to show that they can take over some French streets to show that they can conquer a part of the French territory," he said.
France's Islamic Future?
|Notre Dame Mosque|
French publisher Jean Robin said the French media ignored the book because it was politically incorrect.
"Islam is seen as the religion of the poor people, so you can't say to the poor people, 'You're wrong,' otherwise, you're a fascist," Robin explained.
The book lays out a dark future when France has become a Muslim nation, and the famous cathedral has been turned into a mosque.
Whether that plot is far-fetched depends on whom you ask. Muslims are said to be no more than 10 percent of the French population, although no one knows for sure because French law prohibits population counts by religion.
But the Muslim birthrate is significantly higher than for the native French. Some Muslim men practice polygamy, with each extra wife having children and collecting a welfare check.
"The problem of Islam is more than a problem of numbers," said French philosopher Radu Stoenescu, an Islamic expert who debates Muslim leaders on French TV. "The problem is one of principles. It's an open question. Is Islam an ideology or just a creed?"
"It doesn't matter how many there are," he aded. "The problem is the people who follow Islam; they're somehow in a political party, which has a political agenda, which means basically implementing Sharia and building an Islamic state."
In Denial or Fed Up
From the 1980s until recently, criticizing or opposing Islam was considered a social taboo, and so the government and media effectively helped Islam spread throughout France.
"We were expecting Islam to adapt to France and it is France adapting to Islam," Robin said.
About the burqa controversy, one French Muslim man told a reporter that Europeans should respect Muslim dress. One Parisian woman wearing a headscarf said "the veil is in the Koran" and "we only submit to God and nobody else."
But even if many government elites are in France are in denial over Islam, the people in the streets increasingly are not. Some have become fed up with what they see as the growing Islamization of France.
They've started staging pork and wine "aperitifs," or cocktail parties in the street. They're patriotic demonstrations meant to strike back against Islam.
A Warning to the West
The French parliament debated the burqa law in this year. Jean-Francois Cope, president of the Union for a Popular Movement political party, has a warning for the West and for America.
"We cannot accept the development of such practice because it's not compatible with the life in a modern society, you see," he said. "And this question is not only a French question. You will all have to face this challenge. "
**Originally published September 1, 2010.