Bilateral Debates on Religion To Be Held

For the very first time, the Minister of the Interior, in charge of the religious issues, Mich_le Alliot-Marie, met today with representatives of Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish faiths. Before entering debate on each religions’ specific concerns, she wanted to expressed her attachment to the principles of la_cit_ and emphasized the role of religion and religious practices in social life, in particular amongst youth. These questions, and particularly those regarding the funding of the religious organizations, have been kept silent during the campaign for the presidential elections. They could emerge again in the following weeks. Representatives of the four faiths brought up the conclusions of the Machelon report (Sept. 2006) on the relationship between the official authorities and relgion, which call for an update of the 1905 Law on the separation of Church and State.