Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

REPORTERS

Inside the CIA’s secret prisons

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

  • Inside the CIA’s secret prisons

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

Paris Grand Mosque to boycott Muslim Council vote

©

Latest update : 2008-05-04

The Paris Grand Mosque said it would boycott elections to France's Muslim Council due to an unfair voting process, in evidence of the ongoing struggle for influence over the country's 5-million-strong Muslim community.

The Paris Grand Mosque announced on Saturday it would boycott elections to France's Muslim Council, throwing into doubt the future of the body President Nicolas Sarkozy created to represent the country's second-largest faith.
 
Dalil Boubakeur, the Grand Mosque rector who has headed the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) since 2003, said the June 8 poll would be unfair since delegates allowed to vote would be chosen according to the prayer space in their mosques.
 
"This is not the way to organise Islam in France," said Boubakeur, who said the voting system ensured the Grand Mosque's national network of about 100 mosques would end up far behind other networks that have been building many new mosques.
 
A statement by the Mosque's national network announcing the boycott called the system an "absurd electoral mechanism."
 
Behind the poll dispute was a struggle for influence in the 5-million-strong community, Europe's largest Muslim minority, between the Algerian-backed Grand Mosque network and a Moroccan-backed movement keen to gain control of the CFCM.
 
As interior minister before becoming president last year, Sarkozy helped launch the CFCM in 2003 as a national body to represent Islam, now France's largest faith after Catholicism.
 
Before polls in 2003 and 2005, he imposed Boubakeur as head of the CFCM regardless of the result. The Grand Mosque network accounts for 15 percent of prayer space in France but claims it is the country's oldest and best established Islamic group.
 


 

SARKOZY SEEN STAYING NEUTRAL
 

The current interior minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, has consulted Algiers and Rabat, which both take an active interest in Muslim politics in France, but has not pressured CFCM members to back Boubakeur.
 
Chems-eddine Hafiz, a senior Grand Mosque official, made it clear that ceding CFCM leadership was unacceptable. "We can't be in the CFCM without having the presidency," he told journalists.

The Union of French Muslim Organisations, a larger rival group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, said the boycott would harm the CFCM. "The UOIF expresses its sadness at this decision by an important component of French Islam," it said.
 
While some Mosque officials hoped Sarkozy would step in to ensure Boubakeur's reelection and save the CFCM from collapse, analysts doubted the president would side with him once again.
 
"I don't have the impression the government wants to get involved to support him," said sociologist Franck Fregosi, an expert on French Islam.
 
The Grand Mosque network, based mostly on older city mosques frequented by Algerians, has seen other groups grow by opening large mosques in suburbs and rural areas where they have far more prayer space and therefore more delegates in the election.
 
The rival Rally of French Muslims (RMF), a new group with strong support from Rabat, looks well-placed to win the June 8 vote thanks to its far larger network among Moroccan immigrants.

Date created : 2008-05-04

Comments

COMMENT(S)