Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute,
French President Emmanuel Macron, in a declared effort to “fight fundamentalism” and “preserve national cohesion,” has promised to “lay the groundwork for the entire reorganization of Islam in France.”
According to Macron, the plan, similar in ambition to Austria’s Islam Law, is aimed at seeking to “better integrate” Islam in France in order to “place it in a more peaceful relationship with the state.”
A key priority is to reduce outside interference by restricting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in France. The plan’s overall objective is to ensure that French law takes precedence over Islamic law for Muslims living in the country.
In a February 11 interview with the Journal du Dimanche, Macron said that the plan, which is being coordinated by the Interior Ministry, will be announced within the next six months:
“We are working on the structuring of Islam in France and also on how to explain it,” Macron said.
“My goal is to rediscover what lies at the heart of secularism—the possibility of being able to believe as well as not to believe—in order to preserve national cohesion and the possibility of having free religious conscience.”
Emmanuel Macron, President of France. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Macron also said that he was consulting a broad array of experts and religious leaders for their input into the reform plan: “I see intellectuals and academics, such as [French Islam expert] Gilles Kepel, and representatives of all religions, because I think we need to draw heavily on our history, the history of Catholics and Protestants.” He added:
“I will never ask any French citizen to be moderate in his religion or to believe moderately in his God. That would not make much sense. But I will ask everyone, constantly, to absolutely respect all the rules of the Republic.”
Macron’s plan, as currently conceived, is vague and short on details, but appears to involve three broad pillars: determining who will represent Muslims in France; delineating how Islam in France will be financed; and defining how imams in France will be trained.
Representation of Muslims in France
A key aspect of Macron’s plan is to reform the French Council of the Muslim Faith (Conseil français du culte musulman, CFCM), the official interlocutor between Muslims and the state in the regulation of Islam in France. The organization, which represents approximately 2,500 mosques in France, was established …read more