18 March 2015

Quest for "French Islam" goes to the classroom

.... A French focus is key, given that only 25-30 percent of practicing imams in France are French nationals, with hundreds of others dispatched on assignments by Turkey, Algeria and Morocco, according to a government study published in July.

Many do not speak French and have no knowledge of French law or customs, obstacles that the training is geared to address.

About 200 people from all faiths, not just Muslims, have already participated in the government-sponsored programme that dates from 2008. Some 1,800 imams are practising in France in the approximately 2,500 mosques or prayer rooms.

.... Previous attempts to encourage a moderate Islam in France have been unsuccessful. In 2003, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister, created the French Muslim Council to help address issues such as imam training, mosque building and regulating halal slaughter. But the council has proved ineffective due to divisions between rival mosque networks. [Reuters] Read more