France: gallicized imams

Source: FSSPX News


In France, the Minister of the Interior, Dominique de Villepin, considers it “not acceptable” that a third of imams working in France do not speak French. In an interview in Parisen/Aujourd’hui on December 7, the minister observed that, of the 1,200 imams who work in France, 75% are not French and a third do not speak the language. “We must have French imams speaking French,” he declared. “For that, each candidate must be given training which is theological (under the responsibility of existing institutions) and secular (under the responsibility of the universtities),” added the minister, who also intends to organize the ongoing training of already practising imams.

 According to Le Figaro of December 7: “The formation of a new generation of imams speaking fluent French and knowing the laws of the Republic is taking shape. The department of Education and the Ministry of the Interior are in agreement: two Parisian universities, probably the Sorbonne and Assas, should be offering, from the start of the academic year 2005 onwards, a new university degree (DU), to acquire a perfect mastery of French law and society. This formation will be strongly recommended to candidates for the imamate, in addition to their religious studies.

 “These future imams could notably follow a course at Assas, on the private rights of the person, constitutional rights, public liberty (which includes freedom of worship, opinion and property ownership…). Provided that this option be accepted by the Administration of Paris-II Assas, which is not yet the case.

 The DU should also include courses on the history of France, its institutions …These courses could be given at Paris-IV Sorbonne and complete this introduction to French society, destined not only for apprentice imams, but also foreigners or people needing to know these basics in order to work in France.

 This university formation will remain optional. But everything has been done to make it attractive. Notably, it will give the status of student and therefore entitlement to residence, as well as rights to social service and grants.

 “This option pleased the Paris Mosque, who had suggested such a module last year in order to acclimatize its Algerian students to France. It has already produced a list of sixty students from its theological institute, apparently impatient to get acquainted with the university.

 “The president of the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations of France), Lhaj Thami Breze, affirmed that he will encourage the students at his institute of Bouteloin (Nièvre) to follow this university course because “an imam can not ignore secularism and its history in France.” But he is already demanding financial aid for journeys to and accomodation in Paris. (…)”