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.