France’s Muslim leaders discourage abstention

While the majority of French Muslims traditionally have voted for leftist parties, at a recent UOIF conference there was talk of abstention.

The main candidates–save for Marine Le Pen–met the leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith before the election’s first round, and the “Muslim vote” could have additional significance in the upcoming election. Despite this, many Muslims at the conference reported feeling disappointed with Hollande’s tenure as president, and were hesitant to cast their vote in the first round.

Amar Lasfar, president of the UOIF, advised French Muslims “not to reduce a candidate to what they say about Islam,” which many took as an endorsement of François Fillon of Les Républicains. “Vote!” he urged during a speech, “Save France from the threat of the far right.”

“Abstention, it’s the wrong choice: it means nothing,” concluded Nabil Ennasri, president of the Collective of French Muslims.

 

The luxurious lifestyle of some Muslim leaders in France

Mohamed Louizi, a longtime leader of a local branch of the Union of Muslim Organizations of France and author of Why I Left the Muslim Brotherhood, has once again raised eyebrows with a recent blog post in which he alleged that Hassan Iquioussen, known as the “preacher of the cités,” also has an impressive property portfolio in Hauts-de-France.

When Muslims give zakat at the end of Ramadan Louizi writes that he finds it odd that “they cannot have access to those donations relative to the assets or the lifestyles of Islamist leaders and other Muslim religious leaders, notably those responsible for collecting money in mosques.” He suggested that the CFCM, in partnership with the State, “should maybe think about requiring religious leaders, and imams too, to declare their assets before and after assuming their roles.”

Mohamed Louizi writes that the “preacher of the cités” is an “uninhibited anti semite” who has stated that “the Zionists worked with Hitler.” He adds that Hassan Iquioussen, along with Alain Soral, believe that “Hamas and its armed forces do good work.”

The preacher runs three organizations: the SCI Smolin, with his sons Soufiane et Locqmane, the SCI Sainte Reine, and the SCI IMMO59, with his wife. He was recently poised to acquire real estate in Escaudain and Liévin. “It’s not normal that we ignore the ways of life of religious leaders, lesson givers, and the sanctimonious, while certain among them amass, through the Muslim religion, protected and hidden assets and property.” He argues that the case of Hassan Iquioussen is hardly unique in France, citing several national UOIF leaders, who also mix “preaching and business.”

July 6, 2016

Source: http://www.lepoint.fr/societe/le-luxueux-train-de-vie-de-certains-representants-de-l-islam-en-france-06-07-2016-2052292_23.php

Valls wants to “combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood” in France

Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “we must combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood in our country, we must combat Salafist groups in our neighborhoods.”

“We need to help Muslims who don’t support being confused by such discourse. Not only with jihadists, not only with terrorists, but also with fundamentalism, conservatism, radicalism,” he stated.

When asked how he would combat such groups, Valls responded: “By the law, by the police, by intelligence services. Many things are done. A religion cannot impose its discourse in our neighborhoods.”

The denunciation of Salafism, even if it is primarily quietest and hostile toward jihadism, is very common, especially as the ultra-Orthodox movement influenced by Saudi Wahhabism has gained ground in mosques, present in over 100 (out of 2,300) today.

The Muslim Brotherhood is less common today at the highest state level. The group is at once reformist as well as being conservative. It is engaged in both the political and social sectors, as well as being represented by the Union of Muslim Organizations of France (UOIF) and embodied by Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder Hassan el-Banna.

The liberal imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou is also a member. With over 250 associations, the UOIF is one of the principal Islamic organizations in France. It oversees the first Muslim school under contract by the state (Averroès, in Lille), which has recently been accused of fostering an “Islamist” ideology among its students. The UOIF also organizes the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the West, which boasts over 100,000 attendees annually, and whose guest list is monitored by the authorities.

Statement by Gilles Lebreton, Political Advisor to Marine Le Pen

“Two young Frenchmen appear to have participated in the bloody executions on November 16 by the Islamic State. They are Michael Dos Santos and Maxime Hauchard.

This confirms the reality of the danger that Muslim fundamentalism represents in the world, but particularly in France. Every young Frenchman, no matter their culture or religion, is susceptible to being indoctrinated and to becoming a killer in the name of an extremist interpretation of Islam.

It is urgent to take strong measures to counter this threat, including:

-separation in prisons of fundamentalists from other prisoners, to prevent them from proselytizing;

-prohibiting fundamentalist preaching in mosques and more generally throughout the entirety of French territory;

-pronouncing the dissolution of fundamentalist movements, including the UOIF;

-firmly condemning the fundamentalists who have committed grave acts of violence;

-reaffirming our values of secularism and reviving our traditional policy of assimilation;

-and fighting fundamentalism everywhere in the world where it tries to plant the roots of terrorism, such as in Mali or Iraq.”

 

UOIF dismayed to be classified as “terrorist” organization by the United Arab Emirates

The Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF), which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, said it discovered with “shock and anger” its presence on a list of “terrorist organizations” established by the United Arab Emirates.

 

The list was published in mid-November by the UAE, which is part of an international anti-jihadist coalition led by the United States. It names 83 groups, many of which are based in Syria.

Al-Qaeda, ISIL, the Muslim Brotherhood and its various branches are also on the list. “It’s with shock and horror that the UOIF has discovered that it is part of a list of organizations classified as terrorist organizations by the political authorities in the United Arab Emirates,” said the group in a statement published on its website.

“Several other Western Muslim organizations are also unfairly listed,” said the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). These include The International Islamic Relief Organization and the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FOIE), both of which have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. “This qualification, as insulting as it is ridiculous, affects not only French Muslims and their representatives, but also our country and its international image,” the UOIF stated. The group “reserves the right to take action to demand reparations.”

The UOIF boasts 250 member associations and mosque leaders and is one of the principal organizations to shape the “French-Muslim landscape,” along with the Great Mosque of Paris, the RMF, the UMF and the CCMTF. Although it no longer participates in events held by the French Council of the Muslim Faith, the UOIF hosts an annual event billed as the largest gathering of Muslims in the West, with more than 150,000 attendees.

In the past weeks the group has condemned ISIL’s actions and signed a “call to French Muslims” while lambasting the “deportation of Iraqi Christians.” Despite their public statements condemning terrorism, Front National leader Marine Le Pen has “reiterated her request for the UOIF’s dissolution,” which she previously requested in 2012, citing “the dangerousness of an organization that consistently defies the Republic and encourages radicalization.”

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.

Marriage Debates Color Muslims’ Le Bourget

April 18, 2014

 

Muslim leaders opened France’s largest Islamic conference on Friday, April 18, amid a recent controversy surrounding the recent social debates in France regarding legalization of gay marriage and discussions on gender equality education in schools.

“From the point of view of the religious consciousness, marriage for all is something that is a real problem of consciousness,” Tariq Ramadan told BFM TV, media-presse.info reported.

“The issue of homosexuality should be asked in terms of philosophy life: I think it is something that goes against my faith,” he added.

Organized by UOIF, Le Bourget, the largest Islamic conference in France, opened on Friday.

Prominent Swiss Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan will attend the first day of the conference, which closes next Monday.

Themed “What values for a changing society? Man, family and community life”, the four-day conference discusses a host of topics of interest for the Muslim community in France.

The event is expected to draw 150,000 visitors annually, Le Bourget’s attendants will be able to visit a 15,000 square meter exhibition space in which typical products from the Arab and Muslim world will be displayed.

France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe’s largest.

Last February, French Muslims went in mass protests against the legalization of gay marriage and gender equality teaching in schools considering it a “violation” of traditional family values.

The controversy erupted after gender theory, which promotes same-sex, was included in school education stirring fierce criticism by France’s conservative and right-wing groups.

Despite fierce opposition and mass protest across the southern European country, President Francoise Hollande signed the controversial marriage bill into law in May 2013.

After the legislation, France became the 14th country in the world to allow gay marriage.

 

Source: http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/471505-marriage-debates-color-muslims-le-bourget.html

 

French Council on the Muslim Faith vote a success

Liberation

09.06.2013

The much anticipated election of the French Council on the Muslim Faith (CFCM) and the French Regional Council of the Muslim Faith (CRCM) took place this Saturday with great public participation. Despite a widespread boycott call of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF), the election was a success with 76% of the registered voter coming to the polls. Almost 2600 members of French organisations all over France came to vote including some regional members of the UOIF in Alsace and Aquitaine, who disregarded the boycott of their national organisation.

The dispute between the three main organisations that make up the CFCM and CRCM, namely the Grand Mosque of Paris (GMP, under French-Algerian influence), Muslim Assembly of France (RMF, under French-Moroccan leadership) and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France (UOIF, under the Muslim Brotherhood influence), electrified the French Muslim umbrella organisation over months leading to a crisis which undermined the reputation, credibility and position of the CFCM and CRCM.  For more than two years the RMF led the organisation after the UOIF and GMP boycotted the 2011 election. In order to overcome the issues between the groups, a controversial reform of the leadership of the organisation was adopted in February, which introduced a greater power sharing mechanisms between the three.

First estimations indicate that the RMF will take over a dozen regional organisation bodies while the GMP will lead between six or eight. The UOIF which boycotted the election will retain only 2 seats out of 44.

French Muslim group likens gay marriage to bestiality

News Agencies – November 14, 2012

 

French government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has condemned the inflammatory language used by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF) in opposing gay marriage , including equating same-sex marriage to bestiality. The UOIF also added that everyone should understand “the consequences that it could have on society, if this new form of marriage and parenthood is legalized. President François Hollande’s government has recently drafted a bill on “marriage for all” that could allow same-sex couples to get married in France as early as 2013.

The CFCM seeks to reform itself

News Agencies – June 26, 2012

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) recently announced that it is seeking to reform its mandate to “assure the participation of the majority of the parties who make-up Islam in France and create conditions of confidence necessary for the unity and fraternity of French Muslims,” according to a press release.

This reform is said to target the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) who left the CFCM along with a number of other organizations due to previous reform initiatives they found were not acceptable to them during President Sarkozy’s presidency.