It may be sunny in Paris – but a storm is brewing in France’s Islamic community. The French Council of the Muslim Faith is in crisis, after its current president refused to take part in upcoming elections on June the 8th. Dalil Boubakeur, who’s also rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, says it’s the way the vote is held that is causing the problem. The feud is a smokescreen for a power struggle between the Mosque of Paris, supported by Algeria, and the Moroccans from the French National Federation of Muslims.
The Federation has told Dalil Boubakeur that there are rules which can’t be bent. Since its inception, the Council has achieved little. Away from the fight over the mosques, a lot of people in France’s Muslim community wonder what the organisation’s actually for. Many Muslims don’t feel they belong to it, saying it’s too distant and abstract - others aren’t even sure who it represents. The disagreements between different members of the Council mean they risk having to postpone next month’s elections.
It’ll be an embarrassment for Muslim organisations, since the Council was created by French president Nicholas Sarkozy in 2003 while he was still France’s Interior minister.