French Muslim activists denounce state charter ‘imposed on Muslims’

Emmanuel Macron Editorial credit: Alexandros Michailidis /

Over 500 French Muslim community leaders and activists have signed a letter denouncing a government charter that state-approved French Muslim leaders have signed.

The signatories include 100 imams, 50 teachers in Islamic sciences, 50 presidents of associations and 300 students in Islamic sciences.

The letter takes aim at a charter signed by the the state-approved French Council for Muslim Worship which denounces accusations of racism against France, pledges to recognise “equality between men and women,” and to combat “political Islam.”

The letter states: “These steps were carried out without any consultation with imams or the Muslim community, on whom certain people want to once again impose a way of organising themselves, even though many initiatives on the ground already exist with promising results. A simple consultation of the interested parties would have made it possible to identify the real needs and expectations of Muslims, far removed from the instrumentalisation and political escalation that we are witnessing.

“The method used was problematic: by imposing on the CFCM (French Council for Muslim Worship) conditions of political and ideological control that no structure of another religion would accept, we are setting a dangerous precedent, while using an entity that only 7.21% of Muslims in France recognise as legitimate to represent them…

“To promote ‘equality’ we have created a ‘Muslim exception,’ since no other religion undergoes the same treatment or the same criminalisation, which results in the questioning of associations, places of worship and religious dignitaries to ‘send a message…’

“What do we really hope to accomplish through such a way of doing things? Once the unanimous congratulations of the European extreme right have passed and the cheers that are as often hateful as they are anonymous on social networks, what will remain of this headlong rush, which has put millions of our Muslim fellow citizens in tension, torn between a faith that we stigmatise and a citizenship that we condition?”

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A few weeks ago the French Council for Muslim Worship, which is approved by the state to represent Islam in France, formally approved a “charter of principles” for Islam in France.

The text, demanded by President Emmanuel Macron in November as part of his offensive against “separatism,” also affirms the compatibility of Islam with secularism.

The text states: “We reaffirm from the outset that neither our religious convictions nor any other reason can supplant the principles which found the law and the constitution of the Republic. No religious conviction can be invoked to escape the obligations of citizens.

“From a religious and ethical point of view, Muslims, whether nationals or foreign residents, are bound to France by a pact. This commits them to respect national cohesion, public order and the laws of the Republic. Any signatory to this charter therefore undertakes, with respect and dignity, to work for civil peace and to fight against all forms of violence and hatred.”

The charter also undertakes to:

  • Reject attacks on those who renounce Islam
  • Reject all discrimination based on religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, health or disability
  • Fight the ideology of takfir
  • Combat political Islam (defined as Salafism, Wahhabism, the Tabligh and the Muslim Brotherhood)

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