By Colin Randall in Paris France is to intensify efforts to integrate its large Muslim minority by trying to create a generation of French-speaking, socially aware imams equipped with some knowledge of law and diplomas from Parisian universities including the Sorbonne. Dismayed by calculations that a third of the imams practising in France do not speak the language of their adopted country, the interior minister, Dominique de Villepin, wants to launch a foundation early next year. A two-year course at the Sorbonne and Assas universities, starting next autumn, would take the initiative further, giving aspiring Muslim preachers instruction in French law and society.
The president of the Association of Friends of the Moroccan Town, Mohamed Alami, has published an open letter directed to the Spanish Government, the political parties and the different institutions and organizations in which he denounces the entrance in Spain of questionable imams that are harming the Muslims in Spain. El presidente de la Asociaci_n de Amigos del Pueblo Marroqu_, Mohamed Alami, ha publicado una carta abierta dirigida al Gobierno espa_ol, a los partidos pol_ticos y a las diferentes instituciones y organizaciones en la que denuncia la entrada en Espa_a de decenas de supuestos imanes que est_n perjudicando al colectivo musulm_n que hay en Espa_a.
Islamic leaders sceptical about scheme to discourage support for al-Qaida by vetting radical imams and assisting moderates By Hugh Muir Secret government plans designed to win the “hearts and minds” of young Muslims and dissuade the vulnerable from resorting to terrorism were strongly criticised by community organisations yesterday. Tony Blair has assembled a group of senior civil servants from nine Whitehall departments to work on a project, codenamed Contest, aimed at the 10,000 young Muslims whom officials fear may be sympathetic to al-Qaida. The project, details of which were revealed yesterday in cabinet documents leaked to the Sunday Times, would lead to an unprecedented level of government intervention in the political and religious practices of Muslim communities.
The Spanish government is considering censoring the sermons of Muslim imams in an attempt to control the spread of radical Islamic ideas – a move that has been criticised as a lurch towards authoritarianism. The interior minister, Jos_ Antonio Alonso, suggested the plan, which could also see a requirement that all preachers in mosques be registered. Mr Alonso told El Pa_s newspaper at the weekend: “We really need to improve the laws to control Islamic radicals. We need to get to a legal situation in which we can control the imams in small mosques. That is where the Islamic fundamentalism which lead to certain actions is disseminated.”
By Stephen Bates Mosques UK council calls for ‘Correct guidance’ Muslim community leaders yesterday issued their strongest assertion of opposition to terrorism, calling on mosques to issue “correct Islamic guidance” to followers, in an attempt to head off criticisms that they have failed to condemn violence sufficiently firmly in the past. A two-page statement was sent out by the Muslim Council of Britain, representing 400 organisations, calling on imams to reinforce the message of peace at Friday’s prayer meetings at 1,000 mosques across the country.