Bernard Cazeneuve recently presented Anouar Kbibech, President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), with the prestigious Legion of Honor.
“It’s impossible not to see your love for the Republic that has always guided you, in the same title as your religious convictions and your intention to ardently defend the interests and the reputation of French Muslims,” Cazeneuve said, recognizing Kbibech as “an important leader in religious dialogue and organizer of the Muslim faith in France.”
“Following the murder of Jacques Hamel, you called on Muslims to attend Mass at churches the following Sunday to bear witness to their mourning and compassion. Such an action is a gesture of determined calm, similar to the remarks made by leaders in the Catholic Church, in light of the suffering felt by the people of our country.”
“Respect is the most important Republican value, without which there would be no democracy, the Republic, or vivre-ensemble,” the Prime Minister concluded.
March 7, 2014
Advocacy group Sisters in Islam (SIS) co-founder Zainah Anwar, from Malaysia, who will be conferred the French government’s highest award, the Legion of Honour, regards it as a recognition of the advocacy group’s courage in standing up for its cause.
“It is also a recognition that a group like ours is regarded by many nationally and internationally as a model of what the leadership should be in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Malaysia.
“We should be coming together to share the nation and not look at it as one winning over the other,” she told The Malaysian Insider.
French Ambassador to Malaysia, Martine Dorance, will confer the honour on Zainah. The order, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, rewards men and women, French and foreigners, for their distinguished merits and the exemplary services rendered to causes supported by France.
Sisters in Islam’s main cause is to promote an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of justice, equality, freedom and dignity within a democratic nation state. “International recognition of Zainah’s work is also a testament to the moral courage and commitment it takes to challenge injustices, particularly those committed in the name of religion,” said Suri Kempe, the programme manager for SIS.