04 June 2015

Sarkozy’s ‘Républicains’ debate Islam in charting new course

The Républicains, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s freshly re-branded UMP party, is organising a closed-door meeting on Thursday as members search for a common position on a hot-button issue: Islam’s role in the staunchly secular country.

Members of the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party last week approved Sarkozy’s proposal to rename their political organisation The Républicains in an online ballot. The name change is meant to help re-energise the party, which has been marred by bitter infighting and financial scandals in recent years.

The list of contentious issues is long, and Sarkozy – now party chief – wants to tackle the question of Islam first.

A daylong meeting entitled “Islam in France or France’s Islam” will be held at the party’s headquarters in the 15th arrondissement (district) of Paris on June 4. Party leaders, members of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF) as well as experts on secularism have been invited to participate.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), among the invitees, declined to participate. [France24] Read more