CFCM elections boycotted by 84% of mosques in the French Rhone-Alps region

Le Parisien – May 13, 2011

According to the CRCM Rhone-Alps (the regional representative of the CFCM, the French Council of the Muslim Faith), 84% of mosques in the region, which includes the Mosque of Lyon, will not participate in the June elections of the CFCM. Associations in the region had until May 11 to sign up to cote in the June elections. Azzedine Gaci, president of the regional group, claims that mosques in this region do not feel represented by the larger CFCM body. Gaci suggested that the elections be suspended until after the 2012 presidential elections so that issues of representativity can be addressed in the organization.

Imams at Center of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith

By Azzedine Gaci, {Head of the Conseil R_gional du Culte Musulman (CRCM), R_gion Rh_ne Alpes and teacher/researcher at the _cole sup_rieure de chimie physique _lectronique of Lyon (CPE Lyon)} At the very most, France has no more than 2,000 mosques and places of Islamic worship. Daily prayers and Friday services are led by approximately 1,500 to 1,800 imams across the country. When created in May 2003, the Conseil Fran_ais du Culte Musulman (CFCM) was supposed to prioritize a program for overseeing imams in France. Internal quarrels, however, have dominated the organization and the demand for this oversight has calmed in the political sphere. Since 2003, four ministers of Interior (among them Nicolas Sarkozy) and Muslim religious leaders have been responsible for monitoring the situation. Each time a minister has brought attention to the issue, however, there has been little follow-up.

Young Muslims Wants to Sidestep Civil Wedding Ceremonies

Civil weddings are a concern for some imams in France. Increasingly, young Muslims want to get married without having a prior civil wedding ceremony. According to the penal law, this procedure is illegal and can carry a sentence of up to 6 months’ imprisonment and 7 500 euros’ fine. Recently, the MP Etienne Mourrut (UMP Party) expressed concern about these claims in a letter addressed to the Minist_re de l’Int_rieur. “In the majority of the counties, the town councils are rarely asked to pronounce a wedding when the brides and grooms are Muslims. Therefore, we can assume that there are either no Muslims marrying, or that [the civil ceremonies were skipped” Azzedine Gaci, president of the Conseil Regional du Culte Musulman in the Rhone-Alps region says, “I sometimes receive this kind of claim, but I always explain that the civil wedding is mandatory. I also have to explain this to the parents, as the wedding of a Muslim bride cannot be celebrated without her father’s consent”.