What’s causing jihadist sentiments among French Muslims? Must be a shortage of mosques! Yeah, that’s it! If we fund mosques, any idea that Sharia must someday be imposed in France will vanish from among French Muslims!
That seems to be the line of reasoning. But is there any evidence to back it up? Any support for it at all? Do they think that if French Muslims come to depend upon the French government for money, they will moderate to please it? Has it escaped their notice that the Saudis have a good deal of money themselves? Will they make it illegal for mosques to receive foreign money? That is not mentioned in this article. Will they attach requirements for teaching to the money, so that mosques will lose their funding if they teach that Sharia must someday reign in France? Will they fax sermons to French imams and not allow them to preach their own, a la the Turks? None of that is mentioned in this article. “Church-state debate revived by call for mosque funding,” from AFP, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
PARIS, Oct 31 (AFP) – A call for a change to a century-old French law to allow the state to fund new mosques has sent sparks flying in a society deeply attached to the separation of religion and state.
Concerned that a shortage of mosques is allowing extremists to gain a foothold among Frances 5.5 million Muslims by funding places of worship, interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this month named a panel to look into the prickly question.
Due to report to the government in June next year, the committee is being asked, among other things, to suggest ways of reviewing the 1905 secularity law that bans the state from funding places of worship.
The initiative placed Sarkozy squarely at odds with both president Jacques Chirac and prime minister Dominique de Villepin, who sees the century-old law as one of the pillars of our republican system and rejects the idea of updating it.
True, more work is needed to recognise the rightful place of France’s Muslims, de Villepin said, but as members of a strictly secular community….
Sarkozy has repeatedly argued that breaking the French taboo to provide public money for mosques and imams would be the best way of bringing the Muslim community into the mainstream, out of the garages and basements it is often forced to use as unofficial prayer rooms.
“To separate French Islam from foreign influences,” Sarkozy said last month, “let us give it the means to be independent.”
Islamic radicals are already thought to control 20 mosques in the country, according to France’s domestic intelligence service, which also says militants are increasingly congregating in secret prayer-rooms, out of sight of the authorities….
In 2003, French Islam obtained its first ever officially-recognised representative body, the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM), which has responsibility for issues ranging from the funding of mosques to the ritual slaughter of animals.
Now a recognised public institution, it is the government’s main point of contact with the Muslim community.
And in June this year a government-backed ‘Foundation for Islam’ was also set up to oversee the financing of the religion in France, grouping private donations from France and abroad, held in a state-owned bank to ensure maximum transparency, to pay for building and renovating mosques as well as training imams.
Many in the political establishment are against taking the states role any further, including the CFCM president Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Paris mosque, who immediately backed de Villepin in opposing any change to the secularity law.
But other voices within the CFCM took a less hostile view and the influential rector of the Lyon mosque, Kamel Kabtane, supports a review of the 1905 law.