Amending the 1905 French law not well-received by the Muslim community in the country

The French Interior minister, Christophe Castaner, confirmed that the country is amending the 1905 law on the separation of the church and the State. The decision was not appreciated by Muslims in France.

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Amending the 1905 French law on the separation of the church and the State, suggested by President Emmanuel Macron and currently studied by the government, was not well-received by the representatives of the Muslim communities in the country.

On the 9th of December at a conference hosted by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) at the Arab World Institute (IMA) in Paris, the leaders of Muslim federations in France were reluctant to the idea of amending the law, Le Monde says.

They feared that Islam may be treated differently from other religions, and warned against the temptation of «the interference of the State in religious affairs», said the newspaper. Ahmet Ogras, the president of the aforementioned organization declared that «the CFCM fears a step backwards». 

The project of Hakim El Karoui

The rector of the Great Mosque of Paris (GMP), Dalil Boubakeur, was also opposed to the idea that would transform the council into an association under the 1905 law which manages the Law of Associations in France, known as 1901. 

The representatives criticized the project defended by Hakim El Karoui. The latter suggested the creation of an association for financing the Muslim faith, which would be independent from CFCM.

In a confidential note prepared this summer and sent to President Macron, Hakim El Karoui exposed the idea behind the creation of a Muslim Association for the Islam of France (AMIF). The board of directors would be composed of «exemplary figures, without conflicts of interest» divided into several colleges (mosques' managers and chaplains, entrepreneurs, specialists of the halal industry and pilgrimage, imams, and activists).

The consultant expects the association to generate 100 million euros annually. More than half of this sum (60%) would be coming from a tax on halal meat - the quality and certificates of the slaughter would be issued by the AMIF - from 8 to 30 cents per kilo. The donations of Muslims would be AMIF's second source of funding, which would amount to around 25 to 30% of its budget.

A reform confirmed by the Interior minister

During this congress, Interior minister Christophe Castaner, who had his first public intervention in front of the representatives of the Muslim faith, confirmed that the main axes of the reform were under development. In connection with the 1905 law, he believes that «the rules are not sufficiently respected today» : «It is not the role of the State to write the rules of the organization of the Muslim faith, but it cannot lose interest either», said the minister.

As for the fears of representatives to see Islam being treated differently, Christophe Castaner assured that all faiths would continue to be treated on an equal basis.

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