French Muslims Prefer No Government Intervention in Religious Matters
French Muslims rejects the idea of the government "organizing" their religion.
"The Muslim faith is a religion and, as such, takes care of its own household affairs. The last thing you want is the state to act as guardian," said Ahmet Ogras, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM). CFCM is a national organization consisting of 25 representatives and considered the voice of French Muslims in governmental matters since 2003.
The statement by the group's leader in an interview with Reuters comes a few days after President Emmanuel Macron said he would like to reshape the relationship between secular France and the religion of Islam.
"What I'd like to get done in the first half of 2018 is set down markers on the entire way in which Islam is organized in France," said Macron in Journal du Dimanche. "The priority would be to bring back what secularism is all about".
The French Republic holds strong to its secular values which include a strict separation of church and state as stated in their constitution. The majority Catholic country has a decreasing Jewish population and a growing Muslim population. Muslims in France now make up nearly 10% of the population or 6.5 million out of 67 million. France holds the largest population of Jews in all of Europe with 5000,000 living in France.
The issue of secularism versus Islam may stem from the deadly incidents of terrorism in France. Terrorist strikes have taken the lives of 230 people since 2015 making France the most attacked country in Europe by Muslim terrorists.
In 2004, the government made it illegal to wear religious symbols which include the hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women. After the Nice terrorist strike which killed 86 people, a bathing suit worn by Muslim women called a ‘burkini” was banned as well.
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