The Elysee Palace announced that President Emmanuel Macron received, on Wednesday evening, officials of the Islamic religion in France, who presented before it, at his request, the outlines of the formation of a national council of imams.
The French presidency said that Macron also asked his interlocutors to draw up within 15 days a “charter of republican values” that the French Council of the Islamic Faith and the nine federations that makeup of it must abide by.
The president asked his interlocutors to include an affirmation in the charter of recognition of the values of the republic, to specify that Islam in France is a religion and not a political movement, and to stipulate an end to interference or affiliation with foreign countries.
The head of the French Council of the Islamic Faith, Mohamed Mousavi, the dean of the Paris Mosque, Shams El-Din Hafez, participated in the meeting, in addition to representatives of the nine federations that make up the French Council of the Islamic Religion.
Macron told the representatives of the nine federations that he knows that a number of them have ambiguous positions on these issues, stressing that it is necessary to “get out of this confusion.”
Among these nine unions, which represent a large portion of France’s Muslims, there are three that do not adopt a “republican vision,” according to the Elysee.
Macron hopes, behind the formation of the National Council of Imams, to end within four years the presence of 300 foreign imams in France “on scholarships” from Turkey, Morocco, and Algeria.
Not only will the Council of Imams be authorized to issue permits to imams and give them an official card, but it will also be able to withdraw these cards from them if they violate the “Charter of Values of the Republic.”
Depending on the role of each of them – prayer imam, mosque preacher, and preacher – each imam will have to be familiar with a different level of French and possess academic degrees that can reach university level.