Written by Lionel Lemonier and Hanan Ben Rhouma | On Wednesday 21.9.2022 at 08:00
The Grand Mosque of Paris organized its first summer university from September 16 to 18, with the place of Islam in French society regularly questioned in recent years. At the dawn of its centenary, this institution has created an opportunity to remind itself that Islam is compatible with the laws of the Republic, but at the same time to present itself more than ever before as a key player for Islam in France.
As the celebrations of the centenary of the laying of its first stone approach in October, the Grand Mosque of Paris organized the first edition of its Summer University from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 September. The event which Chems-Eddine Hafiz Rector presented to her as “a new stage in the development of the Federation of the Grand Mosque of Paris” that he presides over and which he intends to enforce.
Chems-Eddine Hafiz, who claimed to have about 80 delegates and regional delegates present within the FNGMP, positioned his institution as a major player in Islam in France, even more so given that the Muslim faith is in full reorganization following the failure of the French the Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM) and the creation of the Forum de l’islam de France (FORIF), in which the representatives of the federations present play a very limited role.
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The president of the FNGMP boasts of having established coordination with three other Muslim federations (Rassemblement des Musulmans de France, French Federation of Islamic Associations of Africa, Comoros and the West Indies, and Muslims of France), but it remains informal. nowadays. None of the four organizations claim to take the lead in coordination. “Our coordination wants to attract other federations to come together even more” and strengthen its representativeness towards the state, said Mohsen Ngazou, President (MF), which was particularly well represented during the summer school, but which the Hassan Iquioussen affair further weakened. As regards FORIF, “It is normal for the state to take its placeadds but he will never be the representative of the Muslims. It is up to us to be active and solve our common problems”.
Renewed accusation against the “scourge of Islamism”
Announced in the absence of the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, for a time, but under the gaze of an audience of guests including the head of the Central Office of Worship, Clément Rouchouse, and even more many Algerian officials in the front ranks, of which Youcef Belmehdi, the Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Waqfs, and Saïd Moussi, Algerian Ambassador, Rector on Friday, September 16 from the Institute of the Arab World (IMA), the responsibility of Muslims “to review the fundamental principles of Islam to concretely prove that they agree with our society”.
Summer school is taking place “at a time when the national community is watching us and when we must respond to it boldly and clearly. This hour is crucial. The future of Islam in French society is at stake., said Chems-Eddine Hafiz. For part of public opinion, “Islam and Muslims are now the main cause of fracture in our society. We don’t accept it”he lamented and called on his fellow believers to “not to give in to intolerance, to throw oneself into oneself.”
“Let’s not be afraid of words: we are in a crisis. The solution to this crisis, which is gradually dragging Islam into a ball of misunderstanding and mistrust, will not happen without us. It’s time to understand what we’re going through, face up to our responsibility and act decisively.”he meant.
Confirming the position presented many times and summarized in his latest book, the rector declared that Muslims need it “Look at the problems that are eating them up from the inside”starting with islamism, “political ideology” WHO “wishes to separate Muslims from the rest of society”.
“He speaks to disadvantaged youth. (…) He gives him hopes that are so many pretenses. Because Islamism is an abuse of weakness and leads directly to disillusionment. Islamism is a plague for Muslims who want to live their faith peacefully, without political propaganda and without excessive and archaic proselytizing. (…) So let’s start by stating the obvious: Islamism is not Islam”he assures, before exhorting the youth to learn their religion. “Do it in an emergency, don’t stay in an emergency. What image do we give of our religion today, although the humanistic, spiritual and cultural treasures of Islam are within our reach and others are waiting to be discovered and shine again? »
Chems-Eddine Hafiz intends to celebrate the centenary of his institution, “Born from the knowledge that Islam deserves respect and was not in conflict with the values of the French Republic”one moment “To offer the present a memory of a whole century devoted to the building and recognition of the place of Islam in France”. And declare: “Yes, France is a chance for Islam. I’m sure of it. »
The meeting is planned to return every year
After the inauguration at the IMA, the summer university was held in the Grand Mosque of Paris in the following days. It was welcomed by participants as an opportunity to discuss and reflect on the challenges facing Islam in France, and is set to become an annual gathering. Among the topics covered “Secularism and religion in France, what place is Islam? », “What coordination between Muslim federations, local approach and national strategy”, “Crossed perspectives on different experiences of European Islam”, “Training of Imams” or “Islam, media and political discourse in France”a round table that was particularly enlivened by the presence, among others, of the director of the theater Point Etienne Gernelle, columnist Karim Zeribi and director of Saphirnews publications Mohammed Colin, all hosted by journalist Geneviève Delrue.
Also read the interview with Geneviève Delrue: “It is Islam that saved religious information”
During the last round table of this first summer university, Jean-François Bour, director of the National Service for Relations with Muslims (SNRM) within the Permanent Council of the Conference of Bishops of France, invited representatives of the Muslim Federations “Take a long-term perspective, even if there are now unpleasant emergencies. We can regret that the separatism law (of which several provisions condemn Christian cults, editor’s note) it does not use the successes of the past, but we have a culture of dialogue and we must continue to work on this brotherhood”.
“Even if the media turns their backs on us, intentionally or not, we continue on our merry way, because that’s how Muslims, whether believers or non-believers, practicing or not, establish themselves in French society” announced the rector during the closing speech on Sunday, September 18. “They are citizens of this country and they are attached to the republic. We absolutely want, whenever possible, to show our commitment to the rule of law, to secularism. »
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