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Islam in Europe

French measures to fight radical Islam

The funding of mosques will be controlled, and he imans will receive training. 20 mosques have been shut down this year.

SOURCES Agencies AUTHOR Evangelical Focus PARIS 02 AUGUST 2016 18:20 h GMT+1
Paris Gran Mosque

A new foundation will be created to help finance mosques in France in an effort to prevent the funding of places of worship by radical overseas benefactors, the French Muslim Council (CFCM) has said.

France, which is home to the EU’s largest Muslim community, prohibits the use of state funds for places of worship.

Anouar Kbibech, head of the CFCM, said on Monday: “Almost all Muslims of France are attached to a serene, open, tolerant Islam and they are fully respecting the values and laws of the republic.” The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said he wanted the foundation to be launched in October.



The debate about mosque funding was revived by the killing of a priest at a church in Normandy last week by two followers of Daesh. It has been suggested that overseas influence over certain mosques could encourage the radicalism of worshippers.

Cazeneuve said 20 Muslim places of worship had been shut down in recent months due to extremism. “There’s no room in France for those who call for and stir up hatred in prayer rooms or mosques, and do not respect the principles of the republic.”

He added that since 2012, 80 people had been expelled from France, and dozens more expulsions were underway, without giving further details.

He also confirmed that the government was working on a way to guarantee “total transparency” in the financing of the mosques while at the same time strictly respecting the secular principles of the republic.

The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper, that he wanted to put an end to the financing from abroad for the construction of mosques.


Bernard Cazeneuve and Anouar Kbibech press conference



Earlier this month, a Senate committee published a wide-ranging report on Islam in France, in which it criticised the inherent ambiguity of the state’s policy towards Muslims, stating: “On the one hand there is the intent to organise Islam in France in order to have greater control; on the other hand it [Islam] cannot be touched because of the 1905 law. The equation is unsolvable.”

The report also highlighted serious shortcomings in the training of imams in France, calling for a single training programme that is “adapted to the French context”.

Kbibech said the CFCM is also working to improve the training of imams in France so that they have a better knowledge of the country's secular history and the institutions of the Republic.



Exactly a week after two terrorists killed Father Jacques Hamel while he said mass in his own church, nearly 2,000 people paid their respects to the Catholic priest.

The emotionally powerful ceremony at Rouen cathedral, attended by the French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, and religious leaders including Muslim representatives, took place amid high security.

Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, saluting representatives of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, called for peace and tolerance adding: “Never again.” It was not a question “of forgiving those who had made a pact with the devil, but called on those taken by demonic madness to remember their mothers who gave you life.”




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