French Council of the Muslim Faith torn by factional split

News agencies – July 13, 2012

 

France’s main Muslim organization is in crisis after the oldest Paris mosque announced that it was leaving on 11 July 2012. Founded by Nicolas Sarkozy when he was interior minister in 2003, the French Muslim Council (CFCM) is torn by factional disputes as it discusses reforming its structure. The rector of the influential Grande Mosquée de Paris (GMP), Dalil Boubakeur, announced that it was quitting the CFCM, accusing the federation’s president, Mohamed Moussaoui, of “autocratic governance” and claiming that his organization was being squeezed out of its rightful role.

 

The news came as a surprise not only to Moussaoui but also to the national executive of the Paris mosque. Boubakeur was the first president of the CFCM and is still an honorary president. At present representation on the CFCM is allotted according to the size of an organization’s mosques and Boubakeur, who is considered close to the Algerian government, accused CFCM leaders of “trying to play down the size and influence” if his mosque.

 

Factional infighting has dogged the CFCM, leading current Interior Minister Manuel Valls to complain of “divisions, egoisms and competition” in its ranks and to call on it to “dedicate itself exclusively to places of worship”. At the beginning of 2011 the GMP and the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), which is considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted the election to national and regional committees.

The GMP nevertheless took the seats that were allotted to it.