A French Town Bridges the Gap Between Muslims and Non-Muslims

By Alissa J. Rubin

ROUBAIX, France — Wearing head scarves and long skirts, the women glide along the faded back streets of this poor French town as they make their way to the mosque to hear the last prayer of the evening.

Like their husbands and brothers, fathers and sons, they feel at home here. That is in large part because Roubaix, a small city in northeastern France, has made a point of embracing its Muslim population, proportionately one of the largest in the country.

“I am comfortable in these clothes here in Roubaix,” said Farid Gacem, the bearded president of the Abu Bakr mosque, who was wearing a nearly ankle-length loose brown tunic on a recent afternoon. [Read more...]

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