Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#THE 51%

For her pleasure: Is 'feminist porn' a contradiction?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Paris Saint-Germain football club opens new hub in Shanghai

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

'Europe has become the world’s largest exporter of ivory'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

A reflection of our times: More women, more young people in Time 100 list for 2018

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Commonwealth summit: African members seek to grow trade value to $2 trillion

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Macron makes Time 100 list as France revolts

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's rush to the polls: Erdogan calls snap election to cement his power

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France's Macron likens divisions within EU to 'civil war'

Read more

ENCORE!

Sting and Shaggy on making musical magic together

Read more

France

France to double number of Islamic university courses

© Patrick Herzhog / AFP | Earlier, Valls met members of the Islamic community at the Grande Mosquée in Strasbourg

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-03-03

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday announced that the state would finance double the number of university courses on Islam in a bid to stop the influence of foreign funding of training of French imams.

In a speech in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, Valls said that improving home-grown Islamic education was essential to defeating the ignorance that makes “Islamist extremism and the far right feed off each other”.

His speech follows January’s Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks and comes amid concern about the influence of radical foreign imams on Muslims in France, which has Western Europe’s biggest Muslim community.

The Socialist government is also worried about the increasing popularity of the anti-immigration and anti-Europe National Front party, which is coming top of the polls ahead of regional elections due to take place later this month.

“The rise of far-right populist politics, in Europe as well as in our own country, feeds directly off the rise of jihadism, terrorism and radical extremism,” he said. “It is a situation that puts our democracy, our society and our capacity to live together in extreme jeopardy.”

Valls said he wanted more imams and other religious figures, such as prison chaplains, who have been trained abroad to “undergo more training in France, to speak French fluently and to understand the concept of secularism” that is a core pillar of French Republican values.

There are currently six universities in France offering courses in Islamic studies and theology. Valls said he wanted to double that number to 12 and that the courses would be free.

“The only response to the dangers that we face is the French Republic,” Valls said. “This means the acceptance of the secular state, improving education, universities, understanding and intelligence.”

“But there will be no laws, decrees or government directives to define what Islam means,” Valls said. “The French state will never attempt to take control of a religion.”

Date created : 2015-03-03

  • FRANCE

    Teacher quits French school over ‘insidious Islamism’

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Le Pen says French govt afraid to use word 'Islamist'

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    We are at war with terrorism not Islam, says French PM

    Read more

COMMENT(S)