In a sane world, they would be reassuring him that they would cooperate fully with anti-terror initiatives.
PARIS, May 3 (AFP) – French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Monday sought to reassure Muslim leaders that a government pledge to expel radical imams was not a bid to undermine the five-million-strong community as a whole.
After talks with Raffarin, Dalil Boubakeur, leader of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said the prime minister “wants to reassure the Muslim community” of “his willingness to treat it as he treats other faiths”.
All right. But where is any demonstration of their willingness as a whole to behave as do those of other faiths? Where is an awareness and honest discussion of the fact that Islam is unlike other faiths in having a deeply traditional political component? Why must everyone assume that Islam is completely compatible with secularism, when that compatibility has never been demonstrated in practice and is contravened by mountains of theological, legal, and historical testimony to Islam’s constitution as a political and social system as well as an individual faith?
“In his mind, there is no lumping together of the expulsion of imams and the Muslim community in general,” Boubakeur told reporters.
The meeting came as French authorities were mulling whether to expel Midhat Guler, a Turkish director of a Paris mosque accused of leading an extremist Islamic movement, and a month after the deportation of an Algerian imam.
Guler, who was detained late Saturday, “is the leader in France of an extremist Turkish Islamic movement that advocates resorting to the use of violence and terrorism,” the interior ministry said Sunday in a statement.
The 45-year-old Turkish national applied for political asylum in France, which temporarily blocked his expulsion, but the request was denied on Monday.
A judge ruled later Monday that Guler could stay at home rather than in administrative detention pending review of the expulsion order.French officials said Guler was the leader of the “Islamic Association in France,” but his son told AFP that neither he nor his father belonged to “any Turkish extremist organization, or any organization for that matter”.
Guler told journalists upon his return home he had never advocated any extremist views.
“I am a Muslim and I have never held any extremist views…. There is no radical Islam or soft Islam, only the Islam of the Prophet.”
He said he did not understand why he was ordered expelled from France. CFCM secretary general Haydar Demiryuek said the mosque was run by the “ultra-fundamentalist” Kaplanci movement, which “calls for the creation of an Islamic state in Turkey”. The movement is banned in Germany. …
Boubakeur said it was essential that imams “not mix politics and religion”, adding that his council would work with the government to draw up a list of imams authorized to preach in France and set guidelines about training.
Boubakeur makes a heavy request there, which many Muslims will interpret as meaning that he is insisting they give up an essential aspect of their religion. Until that can be discussed openly, there can be no progress on this issue.