The decision is part of the soon-to-be-revealed French strategy to combat Islamism.
Rabat – France will stop bringing Imams, mosque leaders, from Islamic countries, including Morocco, and start training its own Imams, revealed a leaked official document.
The communique, dating back to January, includes four axes to put an end to Islamist extremism. A key pillar in the plan is ending the system of “detached Imams” from Morocco, Algeria, and Turkey.
“Diplomatic negotiations are underway with these countries,” reads the document entitled “Strategy to Fight Against Islamist and Attacks on Republican Principles.”
In order to cover the needs of French mosques after suspending the partnership with Morocco to send Imams, France will develop “Islamology courses” at universities to train French Imams.
Morocco has been training Imams at the Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams and sending them to work at French mosques for years now. The Kingdom also sends several Quran reciters to France during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Currently, several Islamic countries take part in training Imams and funding French mosques, such as the large al-Nour Mosque in Mulhouse, eastern France, currently under construction with a budget of €11 million and co-funded by Qatar and Kuwait.
French strategy against Islamism
The document introduces the measures by revealing a national increase in the number of French students enrolled in unofficial religious schools, notably in Islam-based establishments, where the numbers grew by 60% between 2016 and 2018.
Faced with this “alarming” new trend, the French government’s document suggests a total of 25 actions.
The first part of the plan responds to a “strategy of obstruction” in the face of the rise of Islamism. The French government will create departmental cells to combat Islamism. It will also strengthen the control of sports organizations, especially martial arts gyms, shooting ranges, and paintball clubs.
The document also suggests a modification of inheritance laws because “discriminatory practices have been found inspired by Muslim law.”
The second axis of the policy aims to “promote a strategy of alternative offers and coordinated support measures for the districts most affected by the Islamist grip.”
To do so, the plan suggests renewing the educational system and offering “reliable extracurricular support.” The new curricula would help develop critical thinking of adolescents and train them in secularism and gender equality.
The third axis, entitled “setting the rules for municipal elections,” aims to “strengthen the control of legitimacy of acts of communities.”
Finally, the fourth axis tackles the participation of foreign countries in the management of religious establishments.
According to Le Point, Macron is expected to reveal the plan officially in the upcoming days.
Growing hate in France
Macron’s strategy comes amid the raging debate in France about the rise of terrorist attacks and their alleged links to Islam and migration.
According to recent statistics from the French Ministry of the Interior, France recorded 154 Islamophobic acts and threats in 2019, 1,052 attacks against Christians, and 536 anti-Semitic threats.
The number of attacks against Muslims saw the largest increase, rising by 54% between 2018 and 2019.
Racist incidents also increased sharply from 496 events to 1,142, an increase of 130%.