France wants to promote dialogue with its large Muslim community

SHAFAQNA – France outlined on Wednesday its plans for a broader dialogue with its Muslim minority after the faith’s official council proved unable to deal with the challenges presented by radicalisation.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the government would consult twice a year with a wide range of Muslim leaders, including not only the official French Muslim Council (CFCM) but also imams and intellectuals not represented in it, on problems facing the community.

“We want to form the most representative forum possible,” Cazeneuve told the daily Le Monde. “We must permit all representatives of a tolerant and peaceful Islam to discuss and resolve problems in an orderly manner.”

The move amounts to an acknowledgment that the CFCM, launched by the government in 2003 to help address the problems of France’s 5 million Muslims, has been ineffective.

The government wanted one body that could speak for France’s Muslims and promote a version of Islam compatible with the strongly secular state.

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