Bernard Cazeneuve called for ‘transparency’ regarding the funding of religious activities related to Islam – mosques, imam training, ritual slaughter- and hopes that future “dialogue” will help. The minister of religion hosted thirty media personalities active in the Muslim community (Saphir News, Oumma.com, Zaman…) for, as he said, “a moment of meaningful exchange,” in the form of interviews.
A continuing theme throughout the panel was critiques of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), largely seen as unrepresentative, failing to manage imam and chaplain training, ritual slaughter, or halal certification. Bernard Cazeneuve hoped for increased “supervision” of “those who want to grow and develop.” “I believe the CFCM did its best and often did well in putting those items on the agenda,” he said.
“I told CFCM representatives: We will not do this without you, we will do it with you and outside of [the organization], with others who, regionally, in towns, on religious questions, have something to say.” Cazeneuve confirmed that a “forum for dialogue” will be held for the first time on June 15.
Questioned specifically about ritual slaughter and mosque funding, Cazeneuve responded: “We will have made significant progress together if the dialogue forum guarantees transparency concerning the funding of these activities.”
Bernard Cazeneuve also mentioned protection for places of worship (around 2,400 including prayer rooms), in a period of increasing anti-Muslim acts. The minister also affirmed an “inclusive” interpretation of secularism, which “does not preclude alternative menus in schools.”
“The Republic needs French Muslims to continue to prosper up and to unerscore its values,” he concluded after two hours of discussion.