The assumption here apparently is that the imams simply don’t understand French values, including the idea of the separation of religion and government, and so preach Islamic supremacism and decry assimilation. If the poor dears just understood better, all would be well and all manner of thing would be well. In this the French are proceeding in blissful ignorance of the fact that the separation of religion from the government is well understood by influential jihadists such as Qutb and Maududi, and is a linchpin of their critique of the West. They offer Islam, with its denial of any sacred/secular distinction, as an alternative to this, which they see as a defect of the West.
So this program, given that it will not touch on Islamic theology, and will only stress something that these imams almost certainly already despise, is doomed to failure.
“France Starts Muslim Imam Training,” by Lisa Bryant for VOA News (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
France has launched a groundbreaking program to educate future imams and Muslim chaplains about the country and its values. The goal: to put a French stamp on Islam, the second largest religion in France. Lisa Bryant has more from Paris.
The courses are being held in an unusual location – the Catholic Institute of Paris, an institution better known for training priests and Christian scholars than Muslim clerics. Established in collaboration with the French government and the Paris mosque, the program began in January with a largely male class of 25. It aims to give the students a broad understanding of France’s legal, historical and social mores.
What the year-long program does not do, says Interior Ministry spokesman Gerard Gachet is offer theology training.
Gachet says religious training for the future clerics is the role of Muslim institutes. But the government believes the courses on France will help shape a French Islam that is perfectly in touch with society.
The students at the Catholic Institute course are largely foreign born, with many coming from North and sub-Saharan Africa. The program’s director, Olivier Bobineau, says they are eager to learn.
Bobineau says he hopes the students end up with a better understanding of the relationship between politics and religion in France – and the values and rules that exist here.