A year later, where is the French Islamic Forum?

The parties insisted.The French Islamic Forum (Forif) has no intention of becoming an institution “represent”. A year ago, on February 5, 2022, the new platform for national dialogue with the Muslim faith was created by the Ministry of the Interior, turning a page in the French Council of the Muslim Faith Takes the form“Subject-specific body of work”, concludes Azzedine Gaci, Rector of the Villepinte Mosque. On Thursday, February 2, the participants of the new platform presented the first summary of their work at the third plenary meeting attended by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Its participants are selected by the state at the conclusion of the French Islamic Territorial Foundation in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Mosque chiefs, imams, experts or local societies, they are divided into four groups. A synthesis of their work will be presented to sectoral participants during the French Islamic Territorial Foundation (ATIF) on February 15 for discussion and revision.

This year, for example, the “separatist” law application group addressed the unexplained closure of mosque bank accounts, which has raised concerns among many Muslim faith institutions and which Gérald Darmanin has warned ministers about 2022 Economic report for June. To understand the reasons for this phenomenon, a team conducted a three-month study of 118 mosques and started a dialogue with the French banking federation.

Kamel Kabtane, chairman of the Rhône Mosque and member of the panel, warned of the situation in June “Banking apartheid”and hope this works “It will reassure mosques that they are treated equally with other citizens and other faiths”. In addition, the organization produced a practical guide in April 2022 to help mosques comply with the law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic (CRPR).

Working groups working on the safety of places of worship and combating anti-Muslim behavior are nearing completion of two other guidelines on these topics, which in particular could guide mosques’ definition of anti-Muslim behaviour. -Muslim. Its participants also worked to create an association in support of victims. “There too, it’s specific, it fills a real need”According to Yacine Hilmi, participant and president of the Hozes Association.

The Priest Organization Group proposed the creation of a National Council of Muslim Priests to act as an interlocutor to the public authorities and to propose the appointment of national chaplains for the army, hospitals and prisons. Finally, a dedicated group tackled the thorny issue of creating legal status for imams. Its participants attempted to establish a clear job description that distinguished the different missions of the imams. They further considered the question of the best position to take between the Minister of Religion and the employee to guarantee him adequate social protection.

Interviewed Forif participants, some of whom attest to meeting on Sunday mornings and evenings after their professional events, welcome the advancement of topics within the new platform: “Based on my experience, this is the first time that we have brought together lay people, religious figures, and mosque leaders to work together, without conflicts and without putting aside personal interests”, Yacine Hilmi said she believes “generates something that hasn’t been done before”, and some “Concrete and useful results”.

However, doubts about this structure continue to arise, especially regarding the legitimacy among Muslims of the actors chosen by the public authorities.Abdessalem Souiki, Imam of Marseille and manager of the association, confides “His embarrassment” participate in the structure “no promises”.“We cannot impose ourselves as an interface between Muslims and public authorities under the pretext of not representing them, He believes. From the perspective of Muslims, this confirms the idea of ​​state interference in the Muslim religion. »

As for CFCM, if it finally abandons its dissolution and prepares to reform itself, it is no longer considered an interlocutor of the state. In this reorganization, the question of the representation of the Muslim faith itself at the national level remains virtually unresolved.

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