After China and India, France is keen to check the spread of radical Islam in the country. Chinese have established what they call re-education camps in Xinjiang while India operates goodwill schools in Kashmir to ensure extremists ideology is blocked to the vulnerable people.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner in an interview with France Inter on February 19 confirmed that France will close the practice of accepting foreign imams from 2024 who primarily come from Turkey, Morocco and Algeria.
Earlier as EurAsian Times reported, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France wants to stop the practice of having foreign imams in the country.
“At present, we have three hundred foreign imams in France,” said the French president. In France, there are about 150 Turkish, 120 Algerian and 30 Moroccan imams who serve in mosques and all of them receive payment from abroad.
Castaner said in an interview: “I have made it clear to foreign states – Morocco, Turkey and Algeria that they have a deadline of 2024.” On being asked why 2024 was chosen as the deadline, Castaner explained that usually, foreign imams serve in France on the basis of three-year contracts.
The exact number of imams in France is unknown. According to some estimates, there are approximately 2500 mosques in France, in which about 1800 imams serve.
On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron personally announced measures to curb extremism in Mulhouse, one of the centers of radical Islam recognized by the authorities in eastern France. For almost an hour, Macron walked on the streets of this small city located in Alsace and talked with the local population.
President Macron personally assured the local residents that the government’s strategy is not against the Muslims but against the radical ideology which ferments separatism.
Our enemy is Islamist separatism,” said Macron after a “field” visit to one of these marginalized areas vulnerable to radicalization, Bourtzwiller, in the Alsatian town of Mulhouse.
“Separatism is incompatible with freedom and equality, it is incompatible with the indivisibility of the Republic and the necessary unity of the nation,” he said.
To curb the spread of radical Islamic ideology in France, the French government will now establish greater control over Muslim education, the financing of mosques, and the training of imams. The state will fight foreign interference in the way Muslims practise their religion in France and how Islamic religious institutions are organized in the country.
Thus, President Macron’s visit to Mulhouse was a prelude to the announcement of a government strategy against “political Islam.” The campaign against the presence of radical Islamists in the cities of France is clearly addressed to the municipal elections to be held in France in March 2020, as per experts talking to the EurAsian Times.