FRANCE: Muslims To Join Catholics In Anti-Gay Marriage Rally
A coalition of French Islamic groups has signed on to join the Catholic Church in a "major" anti-gay marriage rally to take place in Paris on Sunday.
Leaders of almost all main faiths in France have spoken out against the law, but not called on their followers to march in Sunday's demonstration to avoid giving the opposition campaign an overly religious tone. President Francois Hollande and his government clashed with the Catholic Church last weekend, telling Catholic schools not to discuss the law with their pupils and urging state education officials to report anti-gay discussions at Catholic schools.Previous anti-gay rallies sponsored by the Catholic Church have drawn tens of thousands of participants. Islam is the second-largest religion in France with about five million followers.
"We will protest on January 13 by joining a pluralist campaign to preserve the traditional framework of marriage," the Muslim activists' letter said. "We invite all French Muslims to turn out in large numbers." The UOIF statement also urged Muslims to join the "March for All", the Paris protest against the reform the government has dubbed "Marriage for All". "This bill, if it passes, will disrupt family and social structures and civil law dangerously and irreparably," it said. The Muslim activist letter was signed by intellectuals, business leaders and leaders of several grassroots Muslim groups. It accused the government of using the marriage issue "to mask its ineffectiveness in the fight against unemployment".