Photos of Muslim passengers at a French airport during a group prayer have sparked controversy. The airport operator described the event as regretful, and the government promised “firmness” on Monday.
A group of about a dozen people were seen praying together in the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport’s departure hall on Sunday before taking a trip to Jordan, according to photos that went viral on social media.
The controversy sparked by the images comes as tensions rise in France over the war between Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel.
France is home to large Muslim and Jewish communities.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that airport authorities were fully committed to implementing rules and vowed “firmness.”
The prayer at terminal 2B of France’s largest airport, in which around 30 travelers took part, lasted around 10 minutes, an airport source who asked not to be named told AFP.
Special closed areas are set aside at the airport for people of all faiths to pray in private.
France is strictly secular and there are limits on displays of religious belief in public spaces such as schools and public buildings including airports.
“This is a regrettable first,” the chief executive of operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP), Augustin de Romanet, wrote on X.
“Dedicated places of worship exist,” he added.
“The border police have been instructed to prohibit this and will increase their vigilance.”