French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the country’s Muslim leaders to accept a charter of “republican values”. which explicitly states that Islam is not a political movement and prohibits “foreign interference” in Muslim groups.
Last Wednesday, the French president met with eight leaders of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) and asked them to accept the charter within 15 days, after which the latter agreed to form a national council of imams – who can issue and withdraw official accreditation from imams, local media reported.
“Two principles will be inscribed in black and white [in the charter]: the rejection of political Islam and any foreign interference, ”reports the newspaper Le Parisien.
Last month, 47-year-old French schoolteacher Samuel Paty was killed by 18-year-old Abdoulakh A after Paty showed his students the controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015, doing his office in Paris. the target of a terrorist attack that year that killed 12 people.
The magazine, which now works in a secret location, reposted the offending footage in September to coincide with proceedings in a court case over the original attack. It appeared to spark a reaction, as two people were injured shortly after in a knife attack near the former Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris’ 11th arrondissement.
Even before the Paty incident, Macron had put himself in the crosshairs of Muslims around the world by suggesting on October 2 that their faith was mired in a global crisis, and even announced his plan to “reform Islam.” In order to make it more compatible with the republican values of his country.
He continued to strongly denounce radical Islam and defended French secularism, saying he would maintain the right to publish cartoons, no matter how offensive they were.
In an interview with Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, Macron said he could understand why Muslims were shocked by controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. At the same time, he reiterated that he could never accept the issue of justified violence. This interview came after another fatal knife attack on a church in Nice that killed 3 people – the third such attack in the country in just over a month.
The strained accounts France faces with its Muslim population – considered the largest in Europe – have been complemented by a backlash from many Muslim-majority countries. French products have been boycotted in parts of the Arab world and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked if Macron needs to have his mental health “ checked. ”
Effigies of Macron have been burned across the Muslim world and Bangladesh has actually witnessed the largest and oldest protests, with crowds estimated at 50,000 and over. They demanded the expulsion of the French ambassador, the end of bilateral relations and the boycott of French products. None of them were likely to be even considered, let alone satisfied. Starlet Nusrat Faria made her debut by parting with her Cartier wristwatch.
Play his hand
With the “Charter of values of the Republic”, revealed on Wednesday, Macron seems to have played his hand on what he could have meant with his comments of October 2.
The head of the French Council of Islamic Faith, Mohamed Moussavi and the dean of the Paris mosque, Shams El Din Hafez, attended the meeting, in addition to representatives of the nine federations that make up the CFCM. The CFCM is a nationally elected body which serves as an official interlocutor with the French state in the regulation of Muslim religious activities.
President Macron told meeting participants that it was necessary to “get out of this confusion,” according to Al Araby, believing that some of them had ambiguous positions on certain issues.
The newly created Council of Imams will not only be able to issue permits to Muslim religious leaders, but will also have the power to withdraw them if they are perceived to violate the “Charter of Values of the Republic” that Macron asked them to do. ‘accept.
Depending on the role of the imams, they will have a certain mastery of the French language and will have university degrees.
Macron hopes, with the formation of the National Council of Imams, to suppress the presence of 300 foreign imams from Turkey, Morocco and Algeria within four years.
In an immediate reaction, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the ultimatum perceived by Macron.
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