March 12, 2016
On Saturday the Muslim community of Orléans gathered at the Parc des expositions for a day dedicated to “faith and responsibility.” Tariq Ramadan took part in the annual event, which included round table discussions.
The Union of Muslim Associations of Orléans (UAMO) described the day as a “cultural” event, which scholars and exhibitors attended. “Faith and Responsibility: a requirement,” was the theme of the conferences and round table discussions.
For speakers, the UAMO invited several noted intellectuals: sheikh Fatih Aksay (youth and radicalization) and Michèle Sibony, vice-president of the French Jewish Union for Peace (in Palestine) and the (very controversial) professor of Islamic studies Tariq Ramadan.
The initiative aimed to encourage “active participations of the Muslim community of Orléans.” The UAMO, created in 2013, is comprised of nine associations present at the conference for “a platform offered to those living in the Central-Val de Loire region, so that they can express themselves, share and bring about a new future.”
Forty theologians, imams, and experts met May 25 in Paris as the Muslim Theological Council of France (CTMF). Their objective is to “help French Muslims fully adhere to their French citizenship and to their religion, mainly through promoting a middle ground, in religious practice and with respect to others.” Among the nine members—including one woman—on the executive board, made public on May 29, several other members of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), close to the Muslim Brotherhood were present.
However there are many members who are not part of the UOIF, such as Larbi Kechat, the rector of the Addawa mosque in Paris, or the imam of Ivry-sur-Seine, Mohamed Bajrafil. “I’m not a part of any group…This council is independent. It is close to no one. Other councils will hopefully see the day,” said Bajrafil. Tareq Oubrou, imam of the Grand Mosque of Bordeaux, is also part of the administrative council of the new organization.
The founders stress that the CTMF’s goal “is not to represent France’s Muslims,” and does not intend to “reprimand anyone.” The previous statement alludes to the French Council of the Muslim Faith’s president, whose institution is largely ignored by Muslims themselves.
The founders of the CTMF call on Muslims to “work with the council,” which has proposed trainings, intellectual works and fatwas. While waiting, they “urge young Muslims to follow the middle ground” and “to affirm with pride their loyalty to Islam and to serve their society.” They “invite the Muslim woman” to “fulfill her role [in society] just as a man.”