France is ready to tighten screws on the spread of radical Islam by blocking foreign financing mosques in the country, terminate the nomination of imams by other nations and remove permission for other countries’ control of native language courses, as part of a campaign against political Islam, the Financial Times reported.
The initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron looks to seek support from rightwing voters ahead of local elections in March, to battle what he calls Islamist “separatism” in some French cities.
It is “unacceptable” for anyone to violate the laws of the French republic in the name of a religion or a foreign power,’’ Macron said. “The republic must keep its obligations, we must fight against prejudice, we must put meritocracy everywhere”.
France’s language courses for 80,000 pupils learning Arabic, Turkish creates “a significant vector of separatism” given that many of the teachers did not speak French or care about French culture, the French president said.
Many of the imams appointed to France, were linked to Salafism or the Muslim Brothers and “preach against the republic,’’ Macron said, adding that the country would “will train imams in France so they learn the language and the laws of the republic.”
Macron said that France could not come to an agreement with Turkey over foreign teachers. “I still have hope, but if Turkey cannot come to terms, then France will provide this education itself,’’ Macron said
Turks living in France are French just like all other people living in the country, he said, adding, “Turkish laws are unacceptable on French soil.’’ Macron’s statements come as a mounting concern rise in France about the influence of Islamist radicals in communities with predominantly North African immigrant populations.
The country is home to 5.7 million Muslims.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has earlier criticised Macron for his use of “Islamic terrorism,” and Ankara has denounced a French draft law proposal adopted by Senate last year calling for mothers wearing the Muslim headscarf to remove them when participating in school trips.