Emmanuel Macron discusses the creation of a “national council of imams” with the CFCM

Emmanuel Macron’s plan against the “Islamist separatism” becomes clearer. While the bill “Reinforcing the republican principles” was transmitted, Tuesday, November 17, to the Presidents of the two Chambers of Parliament, the Head of State received at the Elysee Palace, Wednesday, at the end of the afternoon, the representatives of the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) to address the issue of imam training and certification. A thorny subject since, according to someone close to Mr. Macron, “The fact of having self-proclaimed imams could have created disturbances to public order”.

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The CFCM therefore came up with a proposal to be submitted to the President of the Republic and to the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, also present during this meeting: to create a “national council of imams”. A sort of council of the order, which would define eligibility criteria in order to be able to become an imam and would issue official cards to the people concerned. If the Elysee ensures not to get involved in this project in the name of respect for the principle of secularism, the suggestion put forward on Wednesday is considered by a close friend of Emmanuel Macron as “Interesting and successful”. “The council could revoke the imam card in case of breaches”, thinks he knows an advisor.

Federations that don’t get along

The idea of ​​a form of homologation of imams and their training was mentioned by Emmanuel Macron in his speech at Les Mureaux, in Yvelines, on October 2. He then gave ” six months “ at the CFCM to organize a labeling of religious formations, a certification of imams and to draft a charter whose non-compliance would result in the dismissal of the imam. One episode among others gives an idea of ​​the difficulty that Muslim federations have in reaching an agreement. In March 2017, already under pressure from the government in the wake of the attacks, the previous direction of the CFCM had ended up drafting such a charter. But it was enough for its then president to announce it for a good part of the federations to dissociate themselves from it, ruining the work accomplished. However, it so happens that, for three weeks, the CFCM is again in the grip of tensions between federations, which reacted in dispersed order to calls for boycott of French products after the assassination of Samuel Paty.

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The hypothesis of a council of imams which would regulate access to the office also poses more questions than it answers, each mosque being free to recruit whoever it sees fit to exercise this ministry. In this context, who can give the CFCM the monopoly of a certification of imams, which, in any case, does not exist? How would mosques feel concerned by this label? All the more so as the public authorities cannot get too far involved in this properly religious question without violating the law of separation of Church and State.

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