The sale of church buildings has become commonplace in France – but a recent proposal to convert a church to a mosque has triggered a nationwide controversy. Church congregations in France are dwindling and the town of Vierzon is no exception. With a population of only 27,000, Vierzon is home to six Roman Catholic churches. To balance its books, the local diocese decided to sell one of the churches. But tempers flared after a Moroccan Muslim organization said it wanted to buy the church and convert it to a mosque.
At least three people were killed in an anti-terror raid in Belgium Thursday that one official confirmed was “jihadist related,” and a man suspected of selling guns used in last week’s terror attacks in France was being detained in another part of the country, according to multiple reports.
The deadly raid was in Verviers, in eastern Belgium, according to the Telegraph. It was not immediately clear if the dead were terror suspects or if any authorities had been killed. Federal prosecutors were quoted as saying there had been a police operation near the center of Verviers.
Explosions and gunfire were apparently heard near the station, according to Belgium’s public broadcaster RTBF. The Belga news agency said there were several casualties and police activity was continuing.
“An operation is under way,” a source in the mayor’s office told AFP without giving further details.
Another official told the agency it was “jihadist-related.” Read the rest of this entry »