PARIS – One of France’s largest Muslim organizations yesterday rejected charges of anti-Semitism brought by a U.S.-based Jewish group seeking legal action to replace its leadership with more moderate Muslims. Fouad Alaoui, secretary general of the powerful Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), denied his group was anti-Jewish and accused the Simon Wiesenthal Center of wanting to block the integration of Muslims into French society.
Muslims in France feel “stigmatised” by a new law which will outlaw Islamic headscarves in schools, a male Muslim leader has said. The ban on religious symbols in schools will come into force at the start of the new academic year this autumn. It is meant to underpin France’s strict separation of religion and state. Mr Breze, president of the Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), said France risked moving from integrating minorities to excluding them.
LE BOURGET, France, April 11 (AFP) – Twenty-two thousand people attended the annual rally of the Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) outside Paris on Sunday, considerably higher than the attendance last year, police said. The rally was taking place in the context of the US-led occupation of Iraq and the French government’s controversial decision to ban the Islamic headscarf and other religious insignia in state schools.