French President Emmanuel Macron has declared his intention to tackle “political Islam” in what he is labelling “Act II” of his term as French leader.
President Macron said that the first “Act” of his presidency, which began in May 2017, was over and that he would be looking to focus on different issues between 2019 and 2021 when he is set to try for re-election. Among the topics will be the fight against a political Islam Macron described as forming parallel societies and attempting to “secede” from French society, Le Point reports.
“We are above all the children of the Enlightenment,” Macron said and added that he wanted to see France rediscover “the art of being French” in a country that has become increasingly divided in recent years.
One of the main pillars of Macron’s vision for France is the French brand of secularism, known in French as ‘Laïcité,’ with the French president saying, “Secularism is the possibility of believing in God or not believing in Him… of never imposing on society a religion or detracting from rules of the Republic to do this.”
“When we talk about secularism, we do not really speak of secularism, we talk about the communitarianism that has settled in some quarters, of a political Islam that wants to secede from our Republic,” he added.
Macron singled out foreign religious funding, especially from Turkey, saying that it also contributed towards the problems with political Islam in France and vowed tighter controls on foreign funds coming into the country.
Last year, the French president had made overtures at reforming Islam in France that would see an increased French influence on the training of imams as well as an overhaul of the organisation structure of Muslim groups.
A study that was conducted as a part of a project advising Macron discovered that the radical form of Islam known as Salafism had an almost monopoly on the intellectual currents of Islam across the country.
French-Tunisian Islam expert Hakim el Karoui of the Montaigne Institute, who authored the report, recommended tackling foreign funding of imams to counter the phenomenon.
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