CFCM slips into new crisis


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



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.

French Council of the Muslim Faith torn by factional split

News agencies – July 13, 2012


France’s main Muslim organization is in crisis after the oldest Paris mosque announced that it was leaving on 11 July 2012. Founded by Nicolas Sarkozy when he was interior minister in 2003, the French Muslim Council (CFCM) is torn by factional disputes as it discusses reforming its structure. The rector of the influential Grande Mosquée de Paris (GMP), Dalil Boubakeur, announced that it was quitting the CFCM, accusing the federation’s president, Mohamed Moussaoui, of “autocratic governance” and claiming that his organization was being squeezed out of its rightful role.


The news came as a surprise not only to Moussaoui but also to the national executive of the Paris mosque. Boubakeur was the first president of the CFCM and is still an honorary president. At present representation on the CFCM is allotted according to the size of an organization’s mosques and Boubakeur, who is considered close to the Algerian government, accused CFCM leaders of “trying to play down the size and influence” if his mosque.


Factional infighting has dogged the CFCM, leading current Interior Minister Manuel Valls to complain of “divisions, egoisms and competition” in its ranks and to call on it to “dedicate itself exclusively to places of worship”. At the beginning of 2011 the GMP and the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), which is considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted the election to national and regional committees.

The GMP nevertheless took the seats that were allotted to it.

Mohammed Moussaoui Reelected as head of the CFCM

News Agencies – June 19, 2011

As expected, 47 year-old Franco-Moroccan Mohammed Moussaoui was reelected as the president of the CFCM (the French Council of the Muslim Faith. The 58 elected members of the executive council – themselves elected in different French regions on 5 June – united in Paris to elect the president and the executive office. The elections have been mired in controversy with the boycott of the GMP (Mosque of Paris) and the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations of France. The CFCM was created in 2003 as governmental interlocutor on questions related to Islam.

‘Stop police seizing reporters’ notes’, pleads journalist

An investigative journalist found himself at odds with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) after it used the Terrorism Act 2000 to demand that he hand over the notes for his forthcoming book on Islamist extremism. Writing before Wednesday’s High Court ruling on his appeal, Shiv Malik said what was at stake here was press freedom itself. He questioned how the new terrorism laws would affect the journalists’ ability to protect sources whilst worrying over the threat of facing prosecution for withholding information from the authorities. On 19 March, officers from the GMP Counter Terrorism Unit surprised Malik with a draft production order relating to a book he is writing called Leaving Al Qaid’ah: Inside The Life And Mind Of A British Jihadist, about the life of the former Islamist radical Hassan Butt. “For legal reasons I am not allowed to state the exact nature of the order but I can say that it is wide-ranging,” he said. Malik said he received encouragement from fellow journalists such as Martin Bright from the New Statesman (who in the late Nineties had to defend himself in a similar action) to battle against the draft order. He said that while in Manchester Crown Court, he and his lawyers “discovered that, unlike the well-established provisions ingrained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), schedule five of the Terrorism Act 2000 significantly lowers the protections to journalists who want to maintain the confidentiality of their sources”.

French Muslim Council: Muslims Don’t Want To Be Lumped Together With Fanatics

PARIS – Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Muslim Council, said that Muslims refuse to continue to be lumped together “with extremists, with fanatics, or with terrorists”. Boubakeur and Abdekkader Bouazza, president of one of the eight regional federations that comprise the Council, delivered a strong statement in support of a modern, tolerant, liberal, republican, French and truly Islamic way of life. {(continued below in French)} “L’islam de france ne peut _tre que lib_ral en sa forme. Toute autre option radicale est vou_e _ l’_chec”, a d_clar_ M. Boubakeur, _galement recteur de la Grande Mosqu_e de Paris, lors des assises nationales des F_d_rations r_gionales de la Grande Mosqu_e de Paris (FR-GMP). “Les musulmans en ont assez d’_tre amalgam_s _ des extr_mistes, _ des fanatiques ou _ des terroristes. Nous nous affirmons devant Dieu et les hommes de bonne foi, acquis aux droits des hommes et des femmes, soucieux de l’_panouissement social de nos jeunes et des plus faibles”, a ajout_ M. Boubakeur. “Au moment o_ il se trouve _ la crois_e de son histoire, parions en France pour un islam r_publicain, de renouveau, d’alternative lib_rale, ouvert et tol_rant, en contrepoids des extr_mismes, des radicalismes et de tous les fondamentalismes”, a poursuivi M. Boubakeur. De son c_t_, le pr_sident d’une des huit f_d_rations r_gionales, qui sont une composante du CFCM, Abdekkader Bouazza (pr_sident d’Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes), a affirm_ : la FN-GMP (F_d_ration nationale-Grande Mosqu_e de Paris) “se veut le trait d’union entre tous les musulmans et les non-musulmans de France”. Notre f_d_ration “est plus que n_cessaire, compte tenu des comportements de certaines organisations, de certains groupuscules qui occupent le terrain, qui parlent, agissent _ la place des repr_sentants de la majorit_ silencieuse des musulmans”, et qui “d_tournent l’islam de sa vraie direction”, a ajout_ M. Bouazza.