CFCM condemns Manchester attack

The French Council of the Muslim Faith released the following statement regarding the attack in Manchester:

“Two months after the attack on Parliament and Westminster Palace in London, the United Kingdom was once again hit on May 22 by a despicable terrorist attack in Manchester.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith condemns with the greatest vigor this craven and barbaric act that has caused over 22 deaths and left more than 60 wounded, of which there were many young people.

The CFCM extends its sincere condolences to the victims’ families and hopes that those who were wounded will make a swift recovery, as several were severely injured.

Following these tragic events that have touched the United Kingdom, the CFCM wishes to express its compassion and solidarity with the British people during these difficult times.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

The CFCM Board.

 

 

Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM ) will interview presidential candidates on secularism and discrimination

One month before the first round of elections, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) sent letters to the presidential candidates on March 23 requesting interviews. According to the CFCM, contacts have already been made to “solicit a meeting.”

“We have have reached an agreement with Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Benoît Hamon, Emmanuel Macron and François Fillon” stated CFCM’s president Anouar Kbibech. “As for Marine Le Pen, we must decide on the course of action to be taken. It all depends on what happens in the next few weeks.”

The themes the CFCM intends to discuss are broken into two principal categories: their “vision for secularism” and their response to “the fears and worries” of French Muslims regarding discrimination and amalgamations that are made between their religion and terrorism.

 

Pope Francis invites French Muslim leaders to meet at Vatican

Pope Francis will receive a delegation from the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) in the Vatican on November 3.

The five members representing the CFCM include President Anwar Kbibech, the three Vice-Presidents and the Secretary General of the organization, Abdallah Zekri. They will meet with the Pope in a private audience after meeting with the prelate in charge of relations with Islam, French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.

“I am very happy to meet the Pope because he is a man of dialogue and a man of peace,” Adballah Zekri said.

This meeting was reportedly organized on behalf of the Vatican by the French cardinals to strengthen interreligious dialogue between the two faiths, especially in the aftermath of a number of terror attacks. The French cardinals told the CFCM that the Pope had particularly appreciated the institution’s firm positions following the murder of Father Jacques Hamel on July 26 in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray by two terrorists belonging to the Islamic State.

The CFCM delegation will travel to Rome on November 2 for a reception at France’s embassy in Rome. On November 3, they will meet with the Vatican Cardinal in charge of relations with Islam, followed by the private audience with Pope Francis.

France has been particularly hard hit by attacks from Islamic terrorists. Besides the execution of Father Hamel, militants of the Islamic State have carried out two major attacks in Paris, as well as the slaughter of 84 civilians in the south of France as they celebrated Bastille Day.

 

Halal food tax proposed in France to fund mosques

Anouar Kbibech, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), outlined plans for a new foundation that would help reduce foreign benefactors amid concerns over extremism.

The idea has been supported by politicians on both the right and left, although there are doubts where such a tax could be implemented.

“The idea has existed since the CFCM was founded,” Kbibech said.

“We have reached the first step with the signing with of a religious framework in the CFCM’s halal charter, which defines the criteria of halal in France.

“In autumn we will discuss the second part, which is the financial contribution of halal organisations to worship.”

The money raised would go towards paying imams’ salaries and funding the construction and operation of mosques, which cannot receive state support under French law.

The proposal came after Manuel Valls called for a ban on foreign funding for Muslim places of worship amid concerns over extremism following a string of terror attacks.

“There needs to be a thorough review to form a new relationship with French Islam,” he said.

“We live in a changed era and we must change our behaviour. This is a revolution in our security culture…the fight against radicalisation will be the task of a generation.”

Nathalie Goulet, a French senator for Orne who conducted a report on the issue, said the creation of a central and transparent foundation was a priority but cast doubt on a halal tax.

“Legally, it is not possible to reduce a tax on a religious item,” she said.

“And technically, a ‘halal tax’ would be impossible to implement because there is no unity around the concept of halal.

“What would be possible is that representatives of the religion themselves introduce a private fee for service at the time of slaughter, to be set by the community, collected and sent to the foundation.”

There has been continued controversy over the sale of halal food in France, with a supermarket in Colombes ordered to sell pork and alcohol or face closure this week.

Muslim Leader asks for ‘gesture’ from Roger Cukierman

A leader in the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, hoped for a “gesture of appeasement’ from the President of the CRIF, whose comments about young Muslims and anti-Semitism have caused controversy. In a recent interview Roger Cukierman stated that all anti-Semitic violence was committed by “young Muslims,” which caused the CFCM to boycott the annual dinner. “Dialogue never ceased with the CRIF as an organization,” declared the CFCM’s President Dalil Boubakeur. “The two communities are mature enough to find common ground and to overcome any disquiet which was created by these unacceptable remarks.”

“I think it’s necessary for him to make a gesture, appeasing remarks, which would allow for dialogue,” said Mr. Moussaoui. He denounced “all extremism, no matter what type it is,” and condemned “terrorism which claims to be Islam,” deploring amalgamations between extremism and Islam.

Following the January attacks Prime Minister Valls invited Muslim representatives to take part in the fight against terror. “Taking responsibility is to ensure that there is a debate within Islam,” he stated. “It’s what we ask of the main majority of our Muslim compatriots who can no longer be confused with this terror.”

The CFCM Condemns the Attack Against Charlie Hebdo [Press Release]

“The French Council of the Muslim Faith and French Muslims condemn with the greatest resolve the terrorist attack of exceptional violence committed against Charlie Hebdo. This barbaric act of extreme gravity is also an attack on democracy and freedom of the press.

Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families and we express our complete solidarity during this terrible ordeal.

In an international political circumstance filled with tensions fueled by terrorist groups unfairly claiming Islam as their own, we call on all those who are committed to the Republic’s values and to democracy to avoid provocations that only serve to add fuel to the fire.

Faced with this national tragedy, we call on the Muslim community to exercise the utmost vigilance against any possible manipulations from extremist groups of any kind.”
Dr. Dalil Boubakeur
President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith

To kill a sheep or donate? The dilemma of Muslims on Eid

Eid is traditionally a holiday during which a Muslim is expected to slaughter a sheep, however there is a growing problem surrounding the holiday due to the limited capacity of slaughterhouses in France. Only one hundred machines would be approved in France as appropriate for slaughter. As a result, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) once again recommended that communities spread the days of slaughter out (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). However, many believers are reluctant to change.

The price of sheep has sharply increased due to the lack of slaughterhouses. Abdallah Zekri, a member of the CFCM has for the second time launched a boycott of the purchase of sheep, saying that it “seems to be followed” this year. “I don’t mind shearing the sheep, but not the Muslims,” he said.

Influential blogger and specialist in the halal market, Fateh Kimouche stated that “One cannot, for reasons that are purely economic…burden our religion with debt.” He contended that Muslims “contribute to the survival of French agriculture” by injecting “about 50 million Euros” into the industry during Eid. “If we really want to help Gaza–and there is not only Gaza [to help]–give more, but do not neglect this rite.”

French Muslims mobilize against religious fanaticism

June 5, 2014

In the midst of the “Mehdi Nemmouche case,” the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman (CFCM) published a “Citizens’ agreement of French Muslims” which condemns violence, lists the community’s goals and intends to clarify its place in France’s secular society. The agreement’s ninth article states: “Muslims in their entirety reject violence and do whatever is in their power to prevent young people from succumbing to the deleterious messages that encourage violence and fanaticism.”

Dalil Boubakeur, the CFCM’s president stated, “we have worked on these principles for several months, this agreement is not a product of the current situation and the events that are happening.” However, in light of the current tension surrounding Islam’s place in France, Boubakeur highlighted the current need to “distinguish the difference between what is good for our community and what is harmful.”

The text reaffirms that that “the word ‘jihad’ signifies in particular an individual’s inner fight and effort,” which assumes a “spiritual dimension, consisting of one’s best attempt to do good.”

The agreement’s first segment highlights the place of Muslims within French society. The CFCM underscores its commitment to France’s secular nature and its opposition to the full veil worn by some Muslim women.

In the second segment, dedicated to “the goals of French Muslims,” the text outlines the development of Islamophobia in France and stresses that the issue “concerns everyone.” The agreement underscores the importance of chaplaincies, especially those in prisons,that should “prevent and control all radicalism through religious education.”

The CFCM intends to present its text to the French authorities, however the agreement does not represent an initiative that is unanimously supported by all Muslim leaders in France. Since its establishment the council has been plagued by internal disputes linked to the leaders’ countries of origin (notably Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia). The CFCM represents a small fragment of over three thousand religious organizations and the five million Muslims currently living in France.

Hassen Chalghoumi interviewed by Le Figaro: ‘We have not built a French Islam’

February 16, 2014

 

Hassen Chalghoumi, the President of the Conference of Imans of France and President of the Muslim Association of Drancy was the guest speaker on the Talk Orange-Le Figaro show on February 11th.  The main themes were the nature of French Islam and French Muslims going to fight in Syria.

Chalghoumi began by saying he doesn’t like the word ‘Islamophobia’ when discussing discrimination in France, but prefers to say there is ‘racism’ and ‘anti-Muslim sentiment.’ When asked about the challenges facing the creation of a ‘French Islam’, Chalghoumi replied that Muslims have an ‘Islam in France’ and not yet an ‘Islam of France.’ Critical of associations like the CFCM (Conseil Francais de Culte Musulman), Chalghoumi claimed Muslims in France have yet to establish a representative body that is neutral, independent and not under foreign management and influence. As for the CFCM, Chalghoumi concluded they haven’t focused on doing anything effective for the youth and lack the tools for doing so.

Some of the immediate problems facing the community include a suitable training program for French Imams. It would be important to educate Imans nationally instead of letting it be done by Qatar. Other topics that haven’t been sufficiently dealt with include properly managing the halal meat system and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Referring to the government’s Integration Report released in December 2013, Chalghoumi declared he was for the push to teach Arabic in schools, since Arabic is not just a sacred language but an important business language. ‘France needs to open up to the world’ and teaching Arabic as a means to work abroad would be a good thing.

According to Chalghoumi, integration policy has been disappointing in France since there is no real mixture or diversity. Instead, separate ghettos are created and even elementary schools feel segregated with some schools having only African and Arab students.

If France did have a French Islam, then society wouldn’t have the problem of extremism. According to Chalghoumi’s estimate, there is a minimum of 700 French citizens fighting in Syria, including minors. Their profile is that they’re lost, desperate, ignorant of their religion and drawn into jihad via internet sites. Chalghoumi deplored the state of radicalization in the suburbs and said this has been a longstanding problem that he has already tried to address. When guiding families with a youth at risk, he tells them Syria is not an Islamic nor holy war, but an internal matter. Chalghoumi warns that these young fighters are today the enemies of Syria, and tomorrow the enemies of France.

 

Source (Video): http://video.lefigaro.fr/figaro/video/hassen-chalghoumi-on-n-a-pas-fait-un-islam-de-france/3215081510001/

 

Claude Goasguen summoned to explain anti-Muslim comments

February 17, 2014

 

After a complaint registered by the CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman), a deputy of the UMP party and mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Claude Goasguen, has been summoned on April 7th to a court in Nimes over his derogatory statements made about the anti-Semitism of young Muslims during the KKL Gala (a fundraising event for Israel) on February 2nd.  Claude Goasguen is also Vice President of the France-Israel friendship group.

The CFCM has pressed charges for defamation and incitement to hatred over his comment: ‘we can no longer teach the Shoah in high-schools due to fearing the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques.’ According to the CFCM’s lawyer Khadija Aoudia, such remarks ‘aliment Islamophobia and insult the honor and dignity of the Muslim community.’

Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said he received twenty calls from various leaders of religious centers encouraging him to launch a judiciary pursuit. The Ligue de Defense Judiciaire des Musulmans (LDJM) has also announced it will press charges. As for the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), the organization is considering it and in the meantime has asked political leaders to condemn the remarks.

Contacted by Agence France Presse, Claude Goasguen said his remarks were made in a private reunion and had been misunderstood. ‘My words were not aimed at the Muslim community in general, but to the Islamist trend within it. I have always denounced religious extremism be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.’ He alsi claimed he meant to say ‘intoxicated’ instead of ‘drugged.’

 

Sources: http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2014/02/17/goasguen-cite-a-comparaitre-pour-des-propos-anti-musulmans_980819

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