No indication as to whether the dhimmi French care about this, or realize the implications of ties to the first modern Islamic terrorist organization, the father of Hamas and Al-Qaeda. From the Chicago Tribune via the Baltimore Sun, with thanks to all who sent this in:
Deep in the misty hills of Burgundy, fervent young European Muslims are forging an Islam of their own. Depending on the point of view, they are either budding fundamentalists or Europe’s best defense against extremism.
The European Institute of Human Sciences lies at the end of a winding country road in a drafty 19th-century chateau in the town of St. Leger-de-Fougeret, France. The site was a corporate retreat until 1992, when a federation of French Muslim groups bought the 27-acre campus of craggy trees and moss-lined brick paths.
Every year, 150 men and women from across Europe, ranging in age from 14 to the mid-30s, pay $3,500 a year to study theology and Arabic language and memorize the Quran. Most are second- or third-generation immigrants, and some are converts. They are the proudly conservative vanguard of European Islam.
“I used to go dancing with my friends, but my life was not close to Islam. Islam was not deep in my heart,” said Lazare Boufeta, walking under a canopy of towering pine trees on the path to his small dormitory room. “One day I started thinking, where am I going? Do I have an aim in my life?”
Boufeta was like any other young French man in the southern city of Grenoble, snowboarding and playing clarinet, until he made the change. The tall and slim 25-year-old arrived at the institute last year and began growing his beard. He adopted the brown robe and sneakers favored by other men on campus. His mission, he says, is to help his nation understand Islam.
“I am French, I know French history and theater. I feel closer to France than Algeria,” he said. “But France is afraid of things it doesn’t know. As we see, nuns can wear a head scarf, and the French are not afraid of them. But not Muslims?”
The school’s declared mission is to train a new generation of homegrown clerics. Its backers call that a vital step in supporting Europe’s burgeoning Islamic population. Government officials across the continent are cautiously welcoming the project as well because they are eager to reduce their nations’ dependence on foreign imams and foreign financing of mosques, on the belief that ties with the Arab world are fomenting extremism and stymieing integration….
State support of Islam stirs deep unease in Europe’s secular societies. Former French Cabinet minister and rising political star Nicolas Sarkozy sparked controversy last month with the suggestion that the government should finance the construction of mosques.
Doing so would mean revising a century-old French law on the separation between church and state, a particularly hallowed principle in France known as laicite. Sarkozy believes that, not unlike Turkey – where authorities directly manage the religion as a means to control it – France must no longer maintain a hands-off approach to Islam.
France has deported at least 10 clerics in the past three years for endorsing violence or for spousal abuse, including Algerian-born imam Abdelkader Bouziane, who argued that the Quran allows men to beat unfaithful wives. Britain and Italy have also expelled or jailed imams for expressing what authorities consider statements in support of violence.
By some measures, the European Institute of Human Sciences, with branches in St.-Denis, France, and near Lampeter, Wales, presents a possible solution. Still, there is much about it that makes the French government uneasy; a senior Interior Ministry official said the textbooks, training and lectures at the school are “being watched.”
The wariness begins with the school’s sponsor, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, an influential federation of local Muslim groups. The union has long-standing ties – though it denies formal links – to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s largest Islamic militant group, which has renounced violence but remains banned in Egypt.