At root, it is a problem of authority — to which authority are young French Muslims listening? “RPT-Anti-riot fatwa sparks feud among French Muslims,” from Reuters, with thanks to Ricky:
PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) – France’s main Muslim organisations feuded on Monday over a fatwa one group issued against rioting after officials suggested Islamist militants might be fanning unrest across the country.
The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), a large group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, quoted the Koran and the Prophet Mohammad to support the religious edict issued late on Sunday condemning the chaos and destruction the unrest caused.
But Dalil Boubakeur, head of France’s Muslim Council and rector of the moderate Grand Mosque of Paris, denounced the move on Monday as equating Islam with vandalism and blaming all Muslims for the rioting whether they were involved or not.
“It is formally forbidden to any Muslim seeking divine grace and satisfaction to participate in any action that blindly hits private or public property or could constitute an attack on someone’s life,” the UOIF fatwa said.
“Contributing to such exactions is an illicit act,” declared the edict, which said it was applicable to “any Muslim living in France, whether a citizen or a guest of France.”
The rioters are mostly French-born youths of Arab or African origin, many of them Muslim, who say racial bias condemns them to unemployment in the rundown suburbs around main cities. France’s 5 million Muslims make up 8 percent of the population.
SURPRISE AND REGRET
The sight of imams and local Muslim leaders in the suburbs calming down angry teenagers who reject all other authority has prompted French officials to warn that Islamic extremists might exploit a power vacuum to gain control over some suburbs.
Boubakeur, a political ally of President Jacques Chirac, said “many Muslims are surprised and regret that, in these dramatic and reprehensible circumstances, some Muslim organisations such as the UOIF think they can invoke God’s name in a call for calm.
“We urge strict respect for French law,” he said in a pointed jab at the UOIF for not mentioning law in its fatwa.