News Agencies – July 27, 2012
French Minister of the Interior, Manuel Valls, has said he wants to reinforce Islam in France “in the interests of French Muslims and of France.” Valls noted that he wants to see an end to an “instrumentalization” of Islam as the French Conseil of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) remains divided. He said that it is up to the organization itself to solve internal issues. Nevertheless he stated that “divisions must be put to an end so that the Islam of France can reflect the interests of French Muslims and of France more generally.”
News Agencies – December 3, 2011
A French minister said there was no such thing as moderate Islam, calling recent election successes by Islamic parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia “worrying” in an interview. Jeannette Bougrab, a junior minister with responsibility for youth, told Le Parisien newspaper that legislation based on Islamic sharia law “inevitably” imposed restrictions on rights and freedoms.
Bougrab is of Algerian origin, whose father fought on the French colonial side during Algeria’s war of independence, and said she was speaking as “a French woman of Arab origin.” She was reacting to electoral successes scored by the Ennahda party in Tunisia, the Justice and Development Party in Morocco and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
News Agencies – October 21, 2011
Claude Guéant, French Minister of the Interior, has presented a 500-page book, “Laïcité et liberté religieuse” (French secularism and religious freedom) that is made up of jurisprudence texts on the subject.
News Agencies – May 16, 2011
THE Minister for youth Jeannette Bougrab walked out of a UMP meeting after a party member used racist language during a debate.
Bougrab, the former president of the anti-prejudice rights watchdog La Halde, later demanded an apology from the audience member.
She had been taking part in a debate on secularism during a meeting of the Franche-Comté branch of the UMP.
As the subject of new funding plans for the building and restoration of mosques and churches was raised, a man, later identified as a 70-year-old former doctor, shouted out that he had had enough of “money going just toward bougnoules” – a racist term for people of North African origin.
While a party member in the audience said the term was not directed at the minister, she responded saying she was descended from a family of Harkis (Muslim Algerians who fought for France during the Algerian war).
While there was no question of expelling the man from the party, UMP party branch secretary Michel Vienet said, the member had been asked to write to apologise to the minister.
News Agencies – March 3, 2011
The French Minister of Education, Luc Chatel, has written in support of a school director in Seine Saint-Denis who refused to meet headscarf-wearing women at the entrance of a public school. Parents must accept “neutrality” if they come close to the school, said the principal. The decision counters that of a 2007 position which allowed mothers to enter the school.
According to the French Minister of the Interior, there are between five and six million Muslims
living in France, where 33% are practicing, 10% attend Friday prayers regularly. There are
between 1,500 and 1,800 mosques and prayer rooms. The largest and oldest mosque in France is
the Mosque of Paris built in 1922 in the city’s fifth district.
French Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux and French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) president Mohammed Moussaoui have signed an agreement to better follow-up anti-Muslim acts and threats in France. 314 such acts were reported in 2009. Moussaoui called on the French to “combat together” this “menace against national cohesion.” Ironically, Hortefeux was fined 750 Euros at the beginning of June for having publicly slandered people of Arab origin. The comment was caught on tape and spread quickly over the internet.
This article in the the Guardian profiles Rachida Dati (b. 1965), former French justice minister, which she stepped down from in May 2009. She has come under scrutiny for her fashion sense and as a single mother of Algerian-origin. She was the second of 12 children born to north African immigrant parents, neither of whom could read or write, and yet by the time she was 41, she occupied one of the most senior roles in government as President Sarkozy’s justice minister, the first woman of Arab descent to be given a key ministerial position in the French cabinet. At 44, she is now a single mother to a one-year-old daughter, a member of the European parliament and the mayor of the 7th arrondissement in Paris. Dati believes the criticism she faces springs from class resentment more than anything else.
Dati is unequivocal in her support for banning the burka in public institutions, an issue currently being debated in France. “When you are part of a society, the first foundation of this social contract is trust,” she says. “To be totally hidden, to not show one’s face, is a challenge to that trust and one cannot construct a society without trust in each other… [the burka] does not correspond to our values.”
The French government is planning to require new immigrants to sign a contract recognizing that the face-veil is banned in France. “Equality between men and women is a fundamental principle of French society,” Families Minister Nadine Morano told French Radio, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The same applies to the full veil.”
At present, newcomers are stipulated to sign the contract stating that polygamy and forced marriages are not allowed in France.”I also want to add that female genital mutilation is strictly prohibited,” said Morano.
According to French Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux, Ali Ibrahim El Soudany, an imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, is a “radical Islamicist” preaching “violence”. For these reasons, El Soudany has been deported back to his native Egypt.
El Soudany, born in 1973, preached in several mosques in the east of Paris in the 18th and 19th districts but principally in Pantin and Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).
Since 2001, 129 radical Islamicists, including 29 imams, have been deported from France.