Publish date21 Nov 2020 - 14:34
Story Code : 482866

Rights group slams Macron over "ultimatum" to Muslims

Muslim American civil rights group, CAIR, has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over "attempt to dictate the principles of the Islamic faith" to the Muslim leaders in the country.
Rights group slams Macron over "ultimatum" to Muslims
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has condemned the French President's order to establish "National Council of Imams" under government parameters as "hypocritical and dangerous."
 
Macron on Wednesday gave the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) two weeks to draw up a charter of "republican values" with which its member organizations and affiliates would be expected to comply, amid a row over Islam's place in the country.

Macron warned that "if some do not sign this charter, we will draw the consequences from that".

CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the United States, slammed the ultimatum on Thursday, declaring that "the French government has no right to tell Muslims or any other religious minority how to interpret their own faith".

The order also seeks to put an end to foreign involvement in French mosques, and establish a "National Council of Imams".

"President Macron must reverse course before his nation returns to the colonial racism and religious bigotry that haunted so many European nations for centuries. President Macron is turning 'Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ into ‘repression, inequality and division'," CAIR executive director Nihad Awad said, referring to the national motto of France. 

Macron's order is a stated attempt to tackle "extremism", and he has said that the move is part of an effort to centralize the formation and accreditation of Muslim religious leaders in the country.

Still, CAIR denounced it as "hypocritical and dangerous", warning American Muslims against travelling to France. 

The US-based organisation accused France of having a long history of oppressing its Muslim population. 

"Over the past 20 years, France has implemented numerous laws designed to limit and punish the free exercise of religion, especially among Muslims. France has banned students, teachers, and public servants, from wearing visible signs of their faith, including hijabs, at school or at work," CAIR pointed out in its statement.    

Macron's plans have been criticized by some from domestic Muslim communities, as well as by international organizations.
 
Weeks earlier, the French president sparked controversy during a speech in which he called Islam "a religion in crisis" and vowed to crack down on alleged Muslim "separatism", resulting in international protests and a boycott of French products. 

A draft law on "separatism" is expected to be presented to the French cabinet on 9 December.
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