This article in Libération charts Nicolas Sarkozy’s discourse on Arabic language instruction in France. The author suggests that while he has been extremely involved in the structuring of Islam in France and has presented himself as open to relationships with Mediterranean nations, there has been little advancement on his earlier promises related to Arabic instruction in public schools.
This newspaper article offers a character profile of André Gerin, who led the six month commission on niqab and burqa use in the Republic. The article suggests that the commission is a reflection of Gerin’s “crusade” since 9/11 against the “French Taliban.” Moreover, amidst the six French people held at Guantanamo since 2002, two were young people from Venissieux, where Gerin has been mayor since 1985 (he resigned last June). The article lists a number of other Islam-related events wherein Gerin was implicated.
In his 9 December speech on the Swiss minaret ban, Nicholas Sarkozy has turned the discourse in France to one of national identity and integration, according to this Le Monde editorial.
In particular, Sarkozy redefined French secularism as “the principle of neutrality and not a principle of indifference” toward religious faiths, and called on Muslims to respect the French “social and civic pact”.
He addressed his Muslims “compatriots” specifically, calling for them to respect secularism and assuring a move toward fighting against all discrimination they face.
There are approximately 4000 Catholic religious spaces in the country and 2368 Muslim spaces.
This article features an interview with Olivier Roy on the investigation of CNRS – employed Vincent Geisser, accused by some of holding Islamicist academic positions.
In a recent article in Libération, IslamOnline.net received kudos for its development of online fatwa as well as for information about Islam and Muslim news. IslamOnline.net draws three million visitors a month, with many visitors searching for online fatwa. The English side of the bilingual website has nearly 4000 fatwa covering a multitude of topics. Other French media have touted the site, including l´Express and the weekly Courrier International. IslamOnline.net was first launched in October 1999.