Bourget 2014: A new kind of meeting for the UOIF

April 22, 2014

For its 31st edition, the annual gathering of French Muslims at Le Bourget organized by the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UOIF), the theme of family and gender studies in schools were at the heart of the debate.

Bringing together speakers like Tariq Ramadan, Tariq Oubrou and Farida Belghoul – President of the Journée de Retrait de l’Ecole (JRE) or ‘Day of Withdrawal from School’ – the conference presented mixed views. A controversy erupted when Farida Belghoul’s appearance was cancelled and then reincorporated at the last minute by the UOIF under public pressure. Seeking to distant themselves from Belghoul’s call to take students out of school one day a month when gender theory would be taught, the UOIF had withdrawn its panel ‘Gender theory, which gender theory?’. Despite its own reservations on the proposed introduction of gender theory into schools, the UOIF condemns the JRE in the name of ‘refusing to use children in adult debates.’ ‘We are for the debate but we do not want a controversy. In light of the current circumstances, it’s better that Belghoul doesn’t appear with us,’ explained Amar Lasfar, the President of the UOIF.

The panel was reinstated into the program in the end, and the debate included Belghoul, Camel Bechikh from Fils de France, Nabil Ennasri from the Collective of French Muslims, sociologists Omero Marongiu-Perria and Fatima Khemilat, as well as Rachid Lamarti from the UOIF.

The UOIF was also the occasion for holding numerous other social debates concerning bioethics, modern individualism, diversity and ethics, gender equality, the portrayal of Islam in France, interfaith dialogue and the self-determination of societies. Le Bourget, in fact, didn’t restrict itself to one debate only.

Le Bourget, Europe’s largest and most popular Muslim convention, opens outside Paris

Le Bourget, organized by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), is considered the largest Muslim convention in Europe. The conference, which takes place every year in the northeastern Paris suburb of Le Bourget, has long been the best destination to raise funds to build mosques. Some 200,000 people, from France and other European countries, are expected to participate in the activities of the four-day gathering.

These two articles from examine the variety of services available at the Muslim Convention, from listening to scholars, to buying Islamic literature or clothes, to looking for a spouse. “Tens of young men and women come to Le Bourget to find a future husband or wife,” Maryam La’khdar, who has a special booth to facilitate relations between Muslim couples. Another group is selling t-shirts inscribed with 1330, the approximate number of Palestinians killed in the recent Israeli war on Gaza, to raise awareness and send supportive funds.

French Mosques Look to le Bourget to Raise Funds

Le Bourget, Europe’s largest gathering space for Muslims held annually, has become the destination of choice for French Muslims to raise funds to build mosques. This year’s four-day gathering, organized by the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), ended on May 11.