French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he would restrict other countries from sending imams and Islamic clerics to France, a move that he says will put an end to “extremist foreign interferences” in the way Islam is practised and taught in France. Macron has claimed in the past that these influences have contributed to the growth of as Islamist terrorist groups, some which have been blamed for carrying out several high-profile deadly attacks in recent years.
Macron also announced that he will stop the practice of allowing which foreign countries to send imams to France to lead prayers in the country’s mosques.
“This will be the end of a sort-of “consular Islam system”. The measures that I am putting in place are extremely important in France ever has a chance to curb the corrosive influence of some foreign groups and to make sure everybody respects the laws of the republic,” Macron said, before adding, “The main problem is when, in the name of a religion, someone wants to separate themselves from the core values of the Republic and not respect its laws”.
France currently has agreements with nine countries, including Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, where those countries can send scholars, imams, and mullah to French schools to teach Muslim students from these countries without any supervision from France’s educational authorities.
Part of the counter-measures that Macron has put into place includes a directive to the French Muslim Council, who will now be charged with training home-grown French imams that can speak French, who are educated about the laws and culture of the French Republic, and who will not spread radical Islamist views.
Turkey, however, has taken umbrage to Macron’s initiative and has refused to reach an agreement with France.
“Turkey can either choose to follow our path, with or without us. But I won’t let any foreign country feed any sort of cultural, religious or identity-related threat to the foundations of our Republic,” said Macron. “We cannot and will not have Turkey’s laws be imposed in France. No way”.