France, April 5 -- With just 2,600 places of worship for some five million Muslims, France has a shortage of mosques-and securing permits and financing for new religious sites is notoriously difficult. That leaves many worshippers struggling to find a place to pray, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

"Quite simply, we need space," saysAbdellah, one of dozens of people lining up to enter the Javel mosque in south-west Paris for Friday prayers.

"We pray in two shifts, we're packed in, it's not comfortable. It's very complicated, and during Ramadan it's even worse. We pray as quickly as possible so that we don't suffocate."

The mosque, housed on one floor of a brick office building, opened in 2003 with space for around 350 worsh...