France’s delicate relationship with Islam still facing many tests

France's delicate relationship with Islam still facing many tests

France’s delicate relationship with Islam still facing many tests

President Emmanuel Macron recently relaunched a long-contentious debate about the role of Islam in French society, and two deadly attacks in October brought Islamist extremism once more into the limelight. But many of the issues highlighted in 2020 have long been discussed … the question is whether this round of introspection solves anything.

The year 2020 saw France descend into yet another dispute about its relationship with its Muslim minority. The question is whether this fight will end with any kind of resolution. The issue has long been a vexed one and bears the scars of France’s history – including colonization and struggles for independence in largely Muslim North and West Africa, to say nothing of the encouragement of immigration from those countries to staff factories.

A new draft law includes measures to prevent children being sent to underground religious schools and to stop religious bodies getting funding from dubious overseas sources or being taken over by extremists.

An officially recognized council of Islamic organizations has been persuaded to establish a training and certification scheme for imams.

Macron’s plan focuses on what he sees as attempts by Islamists to build a “separatist” parallel society with fundamentalist values in troubled urban areas where many residents come from immigrant origins…Islam isn’t alone in seeing this shift to strongly affirmed religious identities, he argues: The same can be seen among the Jewish community. Evangelical Christian groups are also spreading rapidly in troubled urban areas. But the country’s history of Islamist terrorism, which cost more than 230 lives in a series of attacks in 2015-2016, means that its manifestation among Muslims is much more sensitive.

Source: dpa International

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