FOUNDATION FOR ISLAM France. Chevènement should accept, despite the criticism, to chair the institution supposed to work for better integration of Islam in the republic.
L e name Jean-Pierre Chevènement, 77, has been advanced – and immediately challenged – August 3 by François Hollande to chair the Foundation for the works of Islam in France, a project set in motion in 2005 by Dominique de Villepin and the government of Manuel Valls wants to revive and implement by the end of the year. His goal: to better integrate Islam in the republic. In 1999, Chevènement, Minister of the Interior of the Jospin government, launched a wide consultation on the issue which could not be completed. Taking a republican secularism, he reveals his plans and his vision of Islam in France.
THE PRESIDENCY OF THE FOUNDATION
You are tipped to chair the Foundation for the works of Islam in France. Will you accept?
JEAN-PIERRE CHEVÈNEMENT. From the beginning of this year we had, Bernard Cazeneuve, his cabinet and myself, several meetings on the subject. Because, from 1999, I, as Minister of the Interior, launched a major consultation on Islam of France. The Minister of the Interior sent me a letter on April 26 proposing – and I think he did not make this proposal without having discussed with the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic – Presidency this foundation is not yet established. I appreciate Bernard Cazeneuve for his moderation, his determination, his speech still under control.
You are going to say yes?
This is a public task as the 4.1 million Muslims in France the account must be able to practice their religion but respect for secularism and principles of the Republic. This mission is so much public interest that no official can avoid. I do not shirk me so unless my appointment would cause insoluble problems that would force me to retire. I said to a number of politicians from the opposition: it is in the interest of the country that this foundation, also established in 2005 under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, will finally work. In the words of Omar Sy, we all wear the blue jersey of the France team.
Some criticize the fact that you are a politician and a non-Muslim …
what we propose is president of the Foundation for the works of Islam in France which has a mission of general interest, and not of the religious association that there will be backed . The future president of the Foundation will not be responsible for promoting Islam. I did no title, I’m not a Muslim, I am a secular republican. Secularism is not turned against religion, it releases the spirituality of any influence of the state. I have no intention to interfere in the religious sphere.
Is the time right for relaunch the idea of this foundation?
the emergence of an Islam of France compatible with the Republic represents a long-term undertaking all the more necessary today that Salafist currents develop over the world, including in France for fifteen years, providing them thank you to some young fragile mind. This is a good response to the surge of terrorism, in the interest of the Muslims, as well as the interests of France.
What are the first steps you would take ?
the first mission of this foundation is secular training of imams. We must teach them what French citizenship, if any French, the general principles of law, at least those governing relations between the Muslim religion and government. It will also promote cultural projects designed to increase awareness of Muslim civilization, which, at times like the end of the first millennium, brewed cultures and was one of the great matrices of the modern world. It will also consider the creation of a research institute – profane -.? Islamology
Have you asked your agreement prerequisites
I have set two conditions for my eventual presidency. First, that foreign funds are prohibited so that everything happens in the most transparent and that Islam of France depends of money collected in France. On the other hand, my acceptance in principle does not in any way that I give up my freedom of expression as a politician in the long term. But I feel strongly because of the tragedies that our country lives and trials that await him, a certain national unity must manifest.
FUNDING OF Islam, Secularism
Are you also opposed to external financing for the construction and management of mosques, the religious training of imams …?
the State Council sets the charitable foundation – which, I repeat, is in charge of secular activities – of the religious association, which itself is in charge of religious. It seems that Islam in France, including in its theological version where I do not have to intervene, should grow up with French funds or, in any case, a transparency mechanism to be established in the absence of “signs” of the donors. This means that it will be the only organization to select projects. But do not overlook what has already been done with French funds, including with the assistance of local authorities to the extent permitted by law: there are now 2500 mosques in France. The time of the “Islam of cellars and garages” is over.
Are you for a “tax” on halal meat?
the service can be paid, but must first Muslims agree on the certification of what is halal. And their decision.
Must we return to the 1905 law on the separation of church and state, as mentioned a moment the Prime Minister?
Prime Minister has only evoke and the president has rejected any amendment of the 1905 law that prohibits subsidies.
what is your position on concrete issues like the headscarf at university, the burkini, the halal food in canteens …
Legally, things seem clear enough and change the law is not a priority. The advice I give in these difficult times – as the rector of the Mosque of Bordeaux – is that of discretion. Muslims, like all French citizens should be able to worship freely. But they must also understand that in the public space where defines the public interest, all citizens should make the effort to use “natural right.” A principle that the Prophet recommended forty-four times, according to Islamic scholar Jacques Berque, in the Koran. The future of young born of immigration in France and elsewhere. We must prevent them from falling into the suicidal impasse push Daech and Salafists shortsighted. If we love France, you have to make Muslim French of French who, like others, want to work in the development of France. There is a common interest in the boat France takes the sea, as if he were sinking, they are all passengers who would sink with it.