CRIF President embarrassed following his remarks about young Muslims

The annual CRIF dinner on February 23 was marked by absences of Muslim representatives, who decided to boycott the night following Cukierman’s remarks on Europe 1. “All violence today is committed by young Muslims,” even if “of course it’s a little minority of the Muslim community and Muslims are the first victims,” he had previously stated. Cukierman later clarified his statement, “I only shed light on the fact that all the terrorists who committed murders recently claimed Islam [as their religion], and that the first victims of these terrorists, are Muslims.”

Mohammed Mossaoui, President of the Union of Mosques in France and Dalil Boubakeur, President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, decided to skip the dinner. “I learned of this decision with deep regret,” said Mr. Cukierman before stating, “I called Mr. Boubakeur to try and change his mind…It was neither to amalgamate or to stigmatize. It had to do with the facts…I told Mr. Boubakeur that our long and sincere friendship must overcome this problem because what matters, it’s living together in harmony…Jews, Muslims, we are all in the same boat, I hope that contact will be quickly restored.”

The CRIF President was also criticized for stating in the same interview that Marine Le Pen was “irreproachable.” Cukierman later explained that Marine Le Pen was “irreproachable” from a legal standpoint. “But she is someone we don’t want anything to do with, for she has never distanced herself from her father’s remarks,” he concluded.

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.”

Italian man arrested for Anti-Islam graffiti while on vacation in France

August 14, 2013

An Italian was arrested during the night in Avignon, southern France, because he smeared the walls near the entrance to the historic Palace of the Popes with anti-Islam writings. The Le Parisien reported today, citing the deputy prosecutor of Avignon, Thierry Villardo. The man, in his thirties, has been identified thanks to surveillance cameras and he was stopped as he prepared to deface other walls with slogans against Muhammad. At least seven other similar writings were found in the city.

It seems that the young Italian has had an altercation with some men of North African origin before committing the act. “He had a fight with them” said the deputy attorney Villardo “and went to buy some spray paint, he is not necessarily a chronic racist and xenophobe; he was really angry.” The man is currently in police custody. The town hall of Avignon, the Papal Palace and the Bank of France have all filed a complaint against him, according to Le Parisien. Even the Observatory of Islamophobia in the French Council of the Muslim Faith has announced its intention to file a complaint for incitement to racial hatred.

Appearing in the afternoon before the court of Avignon, the tourist smeared the walls of the Palace of the Popes with anti-Islam writings. The ANSA reported the deputy prosecutor of Avignon, Thierry Villardo, stated that the young man, who was arrested on the night between Monday and Tuesday in Avignon, “regrets his action.” Francesco Cattaneo, 31, from the province of Como, arrived in Avignon on Monday morning; he was to continue to Spain, after a brief stay in Avignon.

Cattaneo, confirmed the deputy prosecutor suspicions that he acted “in anger” after having a dispute with a group of people from North Africa. From a psychological report it was found that the 31 year old had a “difficult past,” in the words of the deputy prosecutor, and that “he was not in full possession of his faculties.” Cattaneo could spend up to seven years in prison.

Double desecration
Writing insults to Muhammad on the walls of the Palace of the Popes of Avignon, the Italian tourist, who is in custody in the southern city of France, has committed a “double desecration” against the Prophet and against a symbol of Christianity said Mohamed Moussaoui, honorary president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith. The desecration “of the first name of the prophet, the greatest symbol of Islam, and also the desecration of one of the major places of Christianity,” said Moussaoui on radio France. He also condemned the act as “odious,” calling on Muslims to remain “vigilant but calm, know that extremism can thrive only in an atmosphere of tension.” Several acts added to the anti-Islam rhetoric in recent days. Just three days ago, a soldier was arrested while planning an attack on the mosque in Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon.

Contradicting announcements on beginning of Ramadan amongst French Muslim organisations

Zaman France

09.07.2013

The Grand Mosque of Paris has on Tuesday announced the beginning of this year’s Ramadan on Wednesday, July 10, contradicting the French Council of the Muslim Faith’s (CFCM) previous decision to declare the beginning of Ramadan for Tuesday, July 9. The month of Ramadan begins with the sighting of the moon crescent on the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.

 

The CFCM has this year for the first time adopted a new method to determine the beginning of Ramadan by using astronomic calculations instead of moon sightings in order to ease preparations for the holy month. The CFCM has thus announced that Tuesday, 9 July, will be the beginning of the month and  Eid-El-Fitr which marks the end of the month will be on 8 August. The Grand Mosque of Paris’s decision stands in stark contrast to the CFCM announcement and underlines the split between the different groups which compose the French Muslim umbrella organisation, CFCM.

Zaman France

French Council of the Muslim Faith elects new President

30.06.2013

Le Monde

The director of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, was elected to become the new President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith on Sunday (CFCM). The French Algerian has previously headed the organisation between 2003 and 2008 and succeeds the French Moroccan Mohamed Moussaoui.

The CFCM has recently been making headlines for a number of internal power struggles between the different national movements which make up the organisation following a push for  structural reforms in February. The organisation was created in 2003 under the guidance of the former Secretary of State and later French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to form a representative body for the several million-strong Muslim community of France.

CFCM slips into new crisis

23.06.2013

The Algerian dominated Great Mosque of Paris (GMP) quit a meeting of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) which was about to endorse the appointment of its director, Dalil Boubaker, as President of the Council.

The spokesperson of the GMP explained that “we left the meeting of the Board because we realized that there was a strategic alliance between Moroccans and Turks against the Great Mosque of Paris, challenging an agreement that we signed yesterday to exit the impasse to which the CFCM was heading to”.

As the crisis loomed, the GMP agreed to withdraw its candidate for the presidency of the CFCM, Chems Eddine Hafiz, disputed by other federations, especially the Morrocan led Rally of French Muslim (RMF).The RMF challenged the candidacy of Hafiz who acts as the lawyer of the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, annexed by the Rabat government in 1975. Instead of Mr. Hafiz, the GMP was eventually offered to name its director, Boubakeur,  as the President of the CFCM. Boubakeur had at first refused to take the presidency of the CFCM, which witnessed a landslide election win by the RMF in the elections for its regional councils on June 8. The pro-Morocco group dominated with 25 seats, against 8 seats for the Algerians and 7 for the Turks.

The CFCM was established in 2003 to provide the several million strong Muslim population of France a representative body.

French Council on the Muslim Faith vote a success

Liberation

09.06.2013

The much anticipated election of the French Council on the Muslim Faith (CFCM) and the French Regional Council of the Muslim Faith (CRCM) took place this Saturday with great public participation. Despite a widespread boycott call of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), the election was a success with 76% of the registered voter coming to the polls. Almost 2600 members of French organisations all over France came to vote including some regional members of the UOIF in Alsace and Aquitaine, who disregarded the boycott of their national organisation.

The dispute between the three main organisations that make up the CFCM and CRCM, namely the Grand Mosque of Paris (GMP, under French-Algerian influence), Muslim Assembly of France (RMF, under French-Moroccan leadership) and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF, under the Muslim Brotherhood influence), electrified the French Muslim umbrella organisation over months leading to a crisis which undermined the reputation, credibility and position of the CFCM and CRCM.  For more than two years the RMF led the organisation after the UOIF and GMP boycotted the 2011 election. In order to overcome the issues between the groups, a controversial reform of the leadership of the organisation was adopted in February, which introduced a greater power sharing mechanisms between the three.

First estimations indicate that the RMF will take over a dozen regional organisation bodies while the GMP will lead between six or eight. The UOIF which boycotted the election will retain only 2 seats out of 44.

Racist graffiti sprayed on mosque

Le Figaro

15.05.2013

The Regional Council of the Muslim Faith of Alsace announced the discovery of racist inscriptions and a Christian cross on the wall of a mosque under construction. The racist graffiti, which reads ‘French for the French and ‘100% pork’, was discovered by a mosque member in Illzach, Alsace, and is suspected to have been painted upon over night. The Regional Council of Muslim Faith of Alsace has filed a complaint while its national body, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CRCM), strongly condemned the act.

The act stands in correlation to a general rise of racism, Islamophobia in particular, in France which is reflected in an incline of racist graffiti painted on dozens of mosques since the beginning of the year.

French Council of the Muslim Faith for critical internal reform

French Council of the Muslim Faith

14.05.2013

Following a reformation scandal that has profoundly affected and occupied the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) over several weeks, some of its leading members have published an open letter on the organisation’s homepage, which calls for a sincere and critical reform of the CFCM.

The letter calls the previous reforms and election as ‘harmful’  as well as futile. They blame the disastrous campaign to be the birth of power-hungry members who tried to take control over the organisation. According to the undersigned, ‘This robbery took place in broad daylight, without any kind of consultation with the CRCM or associations, without any information or collecting wishes, comments, opinions or comments of the faithful or their representatives. This proves, if proof were needed, that our current French Council of the Muslim Faith has nothing to do with the people in whose name it is supposed to act and exploits it to his advantage’.

They further call the current reforms as useless as they do not ‘promote the conditions for evolution by blocking the influx of new sensibilities and preventing the function of a democratic opposition’.

The undersigned call for a true reform and a boycott of CFCM’s early election on June 8 this year.  Amongst the undersigned are mostly leaders of the organisations regional councils.